Statement by GAVI CEO Dr Seth Berkley marks World AIDS Day
Geneva, 30 November 2012 - On this World AIDS Day, we can celebrate gains that have been made in preventing and treating HIV. According to the latest UNAIDS report, new HIV infections have dropped among newborn children and AIDS-related deaths have declined as a result of increased access to HIV treatment. Many advocates who have worked in HIV/AIDS for decades feel a cautious new optimism.
Even though significant progress has been made in preventing the transmission of HIV from mother to child and in increasing access to antiretroviral drugs, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, globally the number of new HIV infections continues to outpace the number of people on treatment. Significant and systematic barriers remain to ensure equitable access to both HIV prevention and treatment. The reality of the AIDS epidemic remains that for every one person put on treatment, two people become infected with HIV.
An AIDS vaccine remains our only chance of stopping the spread of HIV once and for all. The quest for an AIDS vaccine must continue at an accelerated pace if we are to ensure that all children no matter where they live have a healthy start in life and that adults live without fear of this virus. Once a vaccine is discovered, GAVI is committed to working with partners to make it available as rapidly as possible, particularly those most at risk for HIV infection.