As reported in the medical journal The Lancet, more than 75 million people have been infected with HIV. Since AIDS was discovered in 1981, and more than 36 million people have died. On the plus side, however, this viral infection is no longer fatal but is a treatable chronic disease. However, at present, almost half of people infected with HIV have access to antiretroviral therapy, which could be crucial to saving their lives (54% of adults and 43% of children living with HIV are currently receiving lifelong antiretroviral therapy – ART, see WHO Report 2016).
Goals of 2016 AIDS Conference
For this reason, one of the main goals of the XXI International AIDS Conference, which was held from 18 to 22 July 2016 in Durban, South Africa, is to see how this treatment could be extended to a larger number of HIV-positive individuals worldwide. Making treatments accessible is a pressing public health measure, mainly in sub-Saharan Africa, and especially among young homosexual males and transsexual women, and in intravenous drug users in Eastern Europe and Central Asia where the incidence is growing.
A basic principle of social justice in the field of human rights requires that anti-retroviral treatments be accessible to all HIV-positive patients, which is not the case at present.