As the 20th International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2014) continues in Melbourne, Australia, Dr. Ronald Valdiserri, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health, Infectious Diseases, spoke with Phill Wilson, Founder and Executive Director of the Black AIDS Institute and member of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS, about what stood out to him so far. During their conversation, Mr. Wilson observed that he had been struck by a point made during a plenary presentation by Dr. Salim Abdool Karim, Director of CAPRISA and Vice-Chancellor (Research) at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa.
In his presentation, “State of the Art Epidemiology and Access,” Dr. Karim pointed to recent UNAIDS statistics on the 10 countries with the largest proportion of people living with HIV in the world. What struck Mr. Wilson was that 9 of the 10 countries are in the developing world, but the 10th country is the United States, where 4 percent of the people living with HIV in the world reside. (View Dr. Karim’s slide [PDF]. Read the UNAIDS “Gap Report” from which the data on the slide is drawn.)
This speaks, Mr. Wilson observes, to the work that remains to be done in the United States and the importance of pursuing other recommendations being heard across the conference about targeting combinations of appropriate prevention strategies to hotspots and key populations that continue to sustain high HIV incidence.
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