Panel at 2014 AIDS Conference. Photo by: UNAIDS

Panel at 2014 AIDS Conference. Photo by: UNAIDS

By: Jordan Gunning

Though the beginning of the conference was overshadowed by the MH17 tragedy, which killed all 298 persons aboard including 100 would-be conference attendees, the conference was able to carry on and leave the PCI employees in attendance with some key take-aways.

First and foremost, UNAIDS has set new goal targets for 2020 of 90/90/90.  This means that by 2020 the UN hopes to have 90% of those with HIV tested and aware of their status, 90% of HIV positive persons on treatment, and 90% of those with low viral loads on treatment.  These ambitious new goals seek to lessen the treatment gap of those who have the disease and those who actually receive treatment.

The conference also focused on “the beginning of the end of AIDS.”  While the eradication or elimination of AIDS is not currently possible with the lack of a cure or vaccine, control of the epidemic is not only a possibility, but also a priority for the global community.  What this means is the global community has set its sights on a near future where HIV is not a threat to public health and is off the list of the world’s list highest disease burdens.

Other goals from include the conference the focusing of education efforts on key populations such as men having sex with men, sex workers, injection drug users, transgender persons, migratory populations and young women who have the highest numbers of new infections, as well as improving treatment adherence and limiting loss to follow-up.

With these take-aways from the 2014 AIDS Conference, researchers, health workers, and policy makers have a new road map for fighting the HIV/AIDS epidemic through 2020.