March 28, 2012
In anticipation of the AIDS 2012 conference, to be held in Washington, D.C., from July 22-27, CDC Director Thomas Frieden spoke at the Washington-based Center for Strategic & International Studies, where he provided an update on the epidemic in the U.S. and abroad, VOA News reports. Frieden provided statistics on HIV infection and death rates; recounted "trying to treat hundreds of patients in the early days of the epidemic," before treatment was available; and said that "around the world, ... HIV/AIDS remains the biggest infectious disease challenge more than 30 years into the epidemic," the news service writes.
But "[m]uch has changed since the beginning of the HIV/AIDS epidemic," the news service writes, noting, "The 2011 global AIDS progress report says annual incidence of HIV has fallen since 2001 in 33 countries, 22 of them in sub-Saharan Africa" and "the overall number of deaths has declined since peaking at 2.2 million in 2005." VOA writes, "Frieden described 2012 at a tipping point," as "[t]here have been advances in vaccine research, microbicides and especially in the use of antiretroviral drugs." VOA notes that "Frieden does expect some protests at AIDS 2012, possibly over budget cuts as nations struggle to recover from the global recession," but he said, "If it weren't for the advocacy in HIV we would not be where we are today" (DeCapua, 3/27).
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