World AIDS Day 2017: Increasing Impact through Transparency, Accountability, and Partnerships

Izzy Okparanta

World AIDS day is observed on December 1 every year to help raise awareness, commemorate those who have died from the virus, and encourage advocates and policymakers to increase their efforts in fighting the epidemic and supporting those whose lives have been impacted by it.

This year, the World AIDS day theme is “Increasing Impact through Transparency, Accountability, and Partnerships.” Although the U.S. government is at the forefront of tackling the HIV/AIDS epidemic, its success depends on partnerships with other governments, the private sector, philanthropic organizations, multilateral institutions, and patient advocates. As a result of these strong partnerships, 19.5 million people received antiretroviral therapy for HIV infection in 2016, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

A large-scale clinical trial sponsored by Janssen and co-funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) seeks to determine the safety and efficacy of an experimental HIV vaccine regimen.

“Together with the implementation of existing HIV prevention and treatment strategies, the development and delivery of a preventive HIV vaccine that is safe and at least moderately effective would help bring about a durable end to the HIV/AIDS pandemic,” said NIAID director Anthony S. Fauci, MD. “We are committed to pursuing multiple vaccine development strategies to achieve this goal.”

Despite this progress, HIV/AIDS remains a significant global public health issue. In 2016, an estimated 36.7 million people worldwide were living with HIV, and about 1 million people died from AIDS-related illnesses, according to the CDC.

HIV/AIDS is also a significant national public health issue. In the U.S., more than 1.1 million people are living with HIV, and nearly 13,000 people with AIDS die each year, according to the CDC. Yet federal funding for HIV makes up less than 1% of the overall U.S. budget, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation report. More resources and funding are sorely needed to tackle this epidemic both at home and abroad. Tell Congress to pass an FY18 deal that raises the budget caps so researchers can continue building on the progress they’ve made in addressing HIV/AIDS. Take action here.

Join the World AIDS day conversation on social media using the hashtags #WAD2017, #WorldAIDSDay and #EndAIDS, and click here for more information on how to get involved. 

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