Dream Fund of Dutch Postcode Lottery funds unique AIDS project

Wed, 02/09/2011

STOP AIDS NOW!

Amsterdam, Netherlands - STOP AIDS NOW! and Clinton Health Access Initiative want to prove that the use of hiv treatment can stop the epidemic in Africa.

The Dream Fund of the Dutch Postcode Lottery provides STOP AIDS NOW! and the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) with a unique opportunity. This spring they will initiate a project in Swaziland where 1 out of 4 people is HIV positive. Financed by the Dream Fund people can be tested on a large scale and treated sooner. This greatly diminishes the chance of new infections. This project may mean the largest turn around in the epidemic ever. Already WHO and UNAIDS are following the project with great interest.

“This project is a revolutionary new approach in the AIDS epidemic in the country with the highest percentage of people with HIV in the world,” says Louise van Deth, director of STOP AIDS NOW! Scientific models are already predicting: treating people with HIV medication can at the same time prevent new infections. When people take HIV medication, the viral load in their blood is reduced and the chance of spreading the virus is 90% less. Yet this method of treatment has never been applied.

STOP AIDS NOW! and CHAI therefore start in Swaziland with treatment 2.0. Together with the Ministry of Health of Swaziland, the Global Network of People Living with HIV, SACEMA at Stellenbosch University, University of Amsterdam and and local partners like SafAIDS. STOP AIDS NOW! and CHAI want to introduce this treatment centered prevention, through:

mobilising the entire population to be tested for HIV. At this moment only 16% of the people has been tested start HIV treatment sooner. To date people only start treatment five to ten years after infection

At the end of 2014, 90% of the people in need of treatment should be getting it. It is expected that this will result in a reduction of new infections of 50%.

During the last decade the fight against AIDS has seen great results. However, for every new person to begin HIV treatment, two more people get infected. Experts predict that the number of people in need of HIV treatment will be so large in 2050 that the current approach will be unaffordable. They expect that by then 11 million people will die of AIDS yearly, instead of the 1,8 million people in 2009. STOP AIDS NOW! and CHAI want to prove that using HIV medication as a method of prevention can cause a turn around in the epidemic. Van Deth: “With 8.8 million euros the Dutch Postcode Lottery enables us to do what noone else dares to do. This project has an enormous potential to be multiplied worldwide. This means a realistic possibility of an end to the AIDS epidemic.”

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