Global coordinator pushes for stronger, more focused anti-HIV efforts

PEPFAR is scheduled to invest $6.8 billion each year for 31 different countries. | File photo
Dr. Deborah Birx, the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator who monitors the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), recently called for stronger efforts against HIV infections around the world as she presented at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

According to U.N. AIDS predictions, if more drastic measures are not taken, there will be 28 million additional people who have HIV infections by 2030.

"You can't talk about a sustained response when you have an ever-growing epidemic," Birx said. "HIV is not everywhere and our investment needs to track where the disease is.”

Birx said policymakers and those who fund research need to specify their targets as they fight against the worldwide HIV/AIDS epidemic. Birx encouraged the focus to be on young women living in sub-Saharan Africa, as they make up one of the highest-risk populations.

PEPFAR is scheduled to invest $6.8 billion each year for 31 different countries. This is an important part in maintaining control over HIV. Unfortunately, stagnant financing means that health professionals must find more efficient ways to spend the funds.

"Funding has plateaued and the real challenge is how do we apply the tools that have been given to us through the scientific method and how do we do that in a budget-neutral environment,” Birx said.

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