Recent advancements in our understanding of HIV transmission, treatment, prevention and testing are changing the landscape of our response to HIV and generating a significant amount of optimism. The buzz at the International AIDS Conference this past July in Washington D.C. was that we may now be able to achieve an ‘AIDS-free generation’ where first, no one will be born with the virus; second, that as people age, they will be at a far lower risk of becoming infected than they are today; and third, that if they do acquire HIV, they will get treatment that keeps them healthy and prevents them from transmitting the virus to others.
Similarly, the United Nations AIDS organization’s ‘Getting to Zero’ campaign for World AIDS Day, December 1, signifies the aim of getting to zero new infections, zero AIDS-related deaths, and zero discrimination.
There are many reasons why we should feel these commendable goals can be achieved. But there are also significant challenges that need to be addressed before we get there.