U.N.: AIDS could be gone by 2030

Nov 18, 2014, 6:34 PM EST
Indian volunteers and members of the West Bengal Voluntary Health Association (WBVHA) light candles in the shape of a red ribbon during the closing ceremony of an AIDS awareness campaign on the occasion of 'World AIDS Day' in Siliguri on December 2, 2013.

The United Nations says that using a five-year plan against HIV could end the global threat of AIDS by 2030. The virus has killed more than 36 million people. Reuters reports:

UNAIDS said reaching its new fast-track targets would avert nearly 28 million new human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infections by 2030, and effectively bring to an end the worldwide health threat it poses.
"If we invest just $3 a day for each person living with HIV for the next five years, we would break the epidemic for good," said Michel Sidibe, UNAIDS' executive director. "And we know that each dollar invested will produce a $15 return."
The HIV virus that causes AIDS is spread via blood, semen and breast milk. There is no cure for the infection, but AIDS can be kept at bay for many years in people with HIV who take cocktails of antiretroviral drugs.
Expanding treatment to 90 percent of people with HIV by 2020 from 38 percent now will help reverse the epidemic, preventing 21 million deaths and 28 million infections in the following decade, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, or UNAIDS, wrote in a report today. Maintaining current treatment levels would enable the epidemic to rebound, jeopardizing years of progress.
Studies have shown that treating those infected with anti-HIV drugs as early as possible, instead of waiting for their immune systems to deteriorate to certain levels, suppresses the virus to a point where it’s almost impossible to transmit. Expanding condom use, education and male circumcision programs in Africa will also help to reduce infections, saving $24 billion in health care costs, according to the report.