Immediate, aggressive spending on HIV/AIDS could end epidemic

Nov 18, 2009

Money available to treat HIV/AIDS is sufficient to end the epidemic globally, but only if we act immediately to control the spread of the disease. That was the conclusion of a study just published in the open-access journal, BMC Public Health.

This approach defies conventional thinking, which recommends gradual spending over 15-20 years. Canadian Researchers found that an aggressive program over five years is the only way to end the given our current resources. The study, part of a supplement on "The OptAIDS project: towards global halting of HIV/AIDS," was based on a leading-edge mathematical model developed by mathematicians and biologists, who recently earned acclaim for a study on how best to handle a planetary invasion by zombies.

Professor Robert J. Smith? and his team from the University of Ottawa, as well as researchers from York University and the University of Manitoba, developed the mathematical model to examine how best to eliminate HIV/AIDS worldwide, given the large amounts of money that have been committed to fighting the disease. They found that the $60 billion currently committed to fighting HIV/AIDS might suffice to end the epidemic globally. However, spending this money over the proposed 15-20 years will almost certainly fail, given the ability of HIV/AIDS to spread through travel and migration.

Recent scientific advances combined with education campaigns and condoms have been very effective in reducing the incidence of the disease in many countries and regions. However, the incidence of infection is still on the rise in many countries too. Over an extended timeframe of 15-20 years, travel and immigration will make it impossible to contain the disease to these regions. As a result, they predict that the spread of the disease will continue to outpace treatment.

This breakthrough finding was the culmination of numerous international studies looking at how epidemics spread globally, the infrastructure required to contain epidemics, how different countries are managing the disease, and the resources required to manage the HIV/AIDS epidemic, under the OptAIDS project umbrella.

"The OptAIDS project grew out of a frustration with existing attempts to tackle the disease," says Professor Smith? "HIV/AIDS is mostly addressed at a community or national level, when it needs to be tackled globally."

The team is now working to develop a model for how best to spend existing resources in the developing world to contain the disease before it spreads beyond our reach.

More information: The OptAIDS project: towards global halting of /, Research and reviews Supplement editor: Robert Smith? (in press), http://www.biomedcentral.com/bmcpublichealth/

Source: BioMed Central (news : web)

Explore further: South Africa targets screening whole population for AIDS

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Are we spending too much on HIV?

Feb 16, 2007

Billions of pounds are being spent on the fight against AIDS in developing countries. In this week’s BMJ, two experts go head to head over whether we are spending too much.

Antiretroviral therapy as HIV prevention strategy

Jun 30, 2008

The widespread use of highly active antiretroviral therapy may reduce the incidence of HIV in individuals and populations but has been overlooked by public health as a prevention strategy, write Dr. Julio Montaner and colleagues ...

L.A. billboards say AIDS a 'gay' disease

Oct 02, 2006

Stunning passersby, billboards have sprung up around Southern California declaring, "HIV is a gay disease," adding the tag line "Own It; End It."

Study: Fewer HIV/AIDS cases in India

Dec 04, 2007

The 2007 figures for the world's human immunodeficiency virus/AIDS epidemic include a significant reduction in the number of infected people in India.

Recommended for you

HIV pills show more promise to prevent infection

Jul 22, 2014

There is more good news about HIV treatment pills used to prevent infection in people at high risk of getting the AIDS virus: Follow-up from a landmark study that proved the drug works now shows that it does ...

User comments : 0