CEO Chip Lyons Calls For a Global Focus on HIV in Letter to Tampa Bay Times

Tampa Bay Times | January 9, 2014

Toward an AIDS-free future | Jan. 4

Fight needs global focus

I applaud your editorial calling for a renewed emphasis on the fight against HIV/AIDS. We have seen major progress in the United States since the virus was first reported more than 30 years ago. However, that progress cannot be mistaken for ultimate success, as there are still 50,000 new infections every year. The disease is still at epidemic levels.

Each day, 700 children are born HIV-positive, almost all of whom live in sub-Saharan Africa. And of the 3.2 million children worldwide who are living with HIV, only 34 percent are receiving treatment. By comparison, in the United States, we have significantly reduced pediatric HIV, with fewer than 200 infections reported in 2012. The United States must be the model that other countries can follow to show that this epidemic can be conquered. But no single country can win this fight on its own.

The recent commitments to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria by the United States and other nations highlight the fact that an AIDS-free generation can be achieved only if we work on a global scale. We must all commit to zero new infections, zero discrimination, and zero AIDS-related deaths.

We can see the end of the HIV/AIDS epidemic within this lifetime, but only if we join together and ensure that every person in every country around the world has access to lifesaving HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention measures.