‘Dangerous complacency’ on Aids may trigger its resurgence

Paris: Thousands of experts and activists descend on Amsterdam on Monday to bolster the battle against Aids amid warnings that “dangerous complacency” may cause a resurgence of the epidemic that has already killed 35 million people.
Rather than closing in on the goal of “ending” Aids, new HIV infections have surged in parts of the world as global attention has dwindled and funding levelled off, say leaders of the anti-Aids movement.
And they lament that too fine a focus on virus-suppressing treatment has overshadowed basic prevention with the result that HIV is still spreading with ease among the most vulnerable people.
“The encouraging reductions in new HIV infections that occurred for about a decade has emboldened some to declare that we are within reach of ending Aids,” said Peter Piot, a veteran virus researcher and founder of the UNAIDS agency.
However, “there is absolutely no evidence to support this conclusion,” he insisted, and warned: “the language on ending Aids has bred a dangerous complacency.”
More than three decades of research have yet to yield a cure or vaccine for the Aids-causing virus that has infected nearly 80 million people since the epidemic burst onto the world scene in the early 1980s.
A UNAIDS report said about 36.9 million people last year were living with the virus which, thanks to antiretroviral therapy, is no longer a death sentence.