US President Barack Obama has made another massive commitment to finding a cure for HIV.
In a White House announcement made yesterday (2 December) after the 25th anniversary of World AIDS Day, Obama said his administration will rederict $100 million (€73.7 million) of existing research funds over the next three years to find a cure for HIV/AIDS.
While the White House said it will ‘reprioritize’ the funds, it did not specify where the funds will come from.
Obama took a tone of optimism during his announcement, echoing the National Institute of Health (NIH), which called this venture an ‘increasingly promising area’ of HIV/AIDS research.
‘The United States should be at the forefront of new discoveries into how to put people into long-term remission without requiring lifelong therapies — or better yet, eliminate it completely,’ he said from the White House yesterday.
Obama also said the US government would pledge an additional $5 billion (€3.7 billion) to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria over the next two years, and urged other countries to comply with their commitment of $10 billion (€7.4 billion) to the Global Fund.
Echoing the president’s commitment to find a cure for HIV, billionaire Bill Gates said he plans to double the contribution of The Global Fund to $500 million.
Obama said: ‘We will stand with you through every step of this journey until we reach the day possible when all men and women can protect themselves from infection, a day when all people with HIV infection have access to treatment to save their lives.
‘The day when no babies born with HIV and AIDS and achieve what once was hard to imagine, an HIV-free generation. That’s the world I want for my daughters, that’s what we want for our families.’
On World AIDS Day on Sunday, Obama called attention to his administration’s successful HIV/AIDS stragies including:
- HIV Organ Policy Equity (HOPE) Act, which lifts the ban on organ donation between HIV positive individuals
- Affordable Care Act, which will require health insurance plans to cover HIV testing without any additional out-of-pocket costs. It will also prohibit discrimination based on HIV status and eliminate annual benefit caps
- The 10th anniversary of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), which supports international organizations in their fights against HIV/AIDS
In the past decade, HIV/AIDS treatment and research has advanced in leaps and bounds, like with PEP (post-exposure prophalaxys) treatments individuals who’ve been exposed to HIV can take in order to reduce the risk of transmission.
However the viral disease continues to be one of the most lethal sexually transmitted infections in the world, particularly in countries where prevention and treatment methods are scarce for economonic, religious or social reasons.