New data adds to a growing body of evidence that as well as saving lives, treating HIV can also help prevent HIV transmission, making the scale-up of treatment all the more urgent.In May 2011, a study called HPTN052 supported by the US NationalInstitutes of Health found a 96%reduction in transmission whenHIV-positive persons in a relationship with an HIV-negative person were started early on antiretroviral therapy compared to people whose treatment was deferred.9 Early treatment also significantly reduced the development of tuberculosis, which remains the number one killer of people living with HIV/AIDS.
If HIV treatment and prevention interventions are ambitiously expanded, according to UNAIDS, twelve million infections and more than seven million deaths can be averted by 2020. The number of new infections could be reduced by more
than half by 2015.ii
In order to reach such a target, countries need to commit significant financial resources to the epidemic– an additional US$ 6 billion annual top up by 2015.ii However, funding forAIDS declined in both 2009 and 2010, leaving the Global Fund to Fight AIDS,TB and Malaria, the US government’sPEPFAR and national programmes short of resources.