World AIDS Day: HIV Pandemic Surging
Despite Advances, Record Numbers Dying of AIDS
WebMD News Archive
Forward, Step by Step
It's easy to get discouraged by the huge numbers needed to describe the
global AIDS situation. It's discouraging that AIDS appears ready to boil over
in populous places such as Pakistan and Indonesia. It's scary to think about
what might happen if AIDS expands its foothold in China. And it's horrible to
count the number of AIDS deaths that cannot be avoided in the coming years.
Yet progress is being made, even if it's of the one-step-forward
Thanks to a huge five-year effort, 1 million of the world's 6 million
desperately ill people now get lifesaving treatments. True, the World Health
Organization's plan to treat 3 million people by 2005 fell 2 million people
short. But this year there were 300,000 fewer AIDS deaths than there would have
been. And next year the impact should be even greater.
"There should be a dramatic and reassuring reduction in AIDS
deaths," De Lay says. "But we are not going to see a reduction in new
infections in the next several years."
It's a lofty goal, but De Lay hasn't given up on the U.N.'s goal of seeing
the AIDS tide ebb by 2015.
"We have in the next 10 years an opportunity to do this," he says.
"But we need more resources. And money is only part of the problem. We need
clinics with bigger waiting rooms. We need refrigerators in the laboratories.
We need hospitals with running water. This is very basic stuff. If we do this,
we may very well see the 'millennium goal' achieved."