Improved Estimation Techniques Produce Better Understanding of AIDS Epidemic
December 7, 2007 -- Estimates of the number of people living with HIV have dropped since last year, primarily due to improved data collection and estimation. According to UNAIDS, approximately 33.2 million people are believed to have HIV, 6.3 million fewer than last year's estimate. The difference is attributed to improved methodology, better surveillance in countries, and changes in the key epidemiological assumptions that are used to calculate the number.
AIDS continues to increase in every region of the world, however, and December 1 was established as World AIDS Day to draw attention to the tremendous toll this disease exacts worldwide. This year's theme was leadership, and President Bush responded by offering a proposal to spend $30 billion over the next five years, doubling the U.S. commitment to the global fight against AIDS.
The National Academies have undertaken many studies on AIDS and HIV. Public Financing and Delivery of HIV/AIDS Care: Securing the Legacy of Ryan White examines the current standard of care for HIV patients in this country and recommends an expanded federal program for the treatment of individuals with HIV, administered at the state level. Scaling Up Treatment for the Global AIDS Pandemic: Challenges and Opportunities outlines steps necessary to implement a rapid "scale-up" of antiretroviral therapy initiatives to meet larger needs of resource-poor countries heavily impacted by HIV/AIDS.
Healers Abroad: Americans Responding to the Human Resource Crisis in HIV/AIDS explores potential strategies for mobilizing U.S. health personnel and technical experts to assist in the battle against HIV/AIDS in 15 African, Caribbean, and Southeast Asian countries highly affected by the disease. PEPFAR Implementation: Progress and Promise recommends areas of focus for the U.S. Global AIDS Initiative to transition from emergency relief to long-term strategic planning and capacity building for sustainable gains against the pandemic.