Imagine a world without AIDS. If you asked me to do that as recently as last year - I might have told you this was a goal that probably wouldn't happen in my lifetime. How times have changed! Researchers are investigating treatments that apparently eliminated the virus in an HIV infected infant. There is a new intervention - a drug called Truvada - the first drug to prevent HIV infections in uninfected high risk individuals if they take the drug before and after exposure.
These were just a few of the exciting facts I heard as I emceed Philadelphia FIGHT'S 15th Annual Prevention and Outreach Summit. We heard from extraordinary speakers like Paul Kawata, Executive Director of the National Minority AIDS Council and Professor Farid Esack a South African activist and scholar.
Despite all the encouraging news Philadelphia FIGHT Executive Director Jane Shull tempered the optimism with a dash of reality. She quoted my good friend David Fair - who was the First Director of the City's AIDS Activities Coordinating Office who said, "HIV is a virus but it's spread by poverty, inequity and despair." Until we address these issues with thoughtful policies, adequate funding and political will - a world without AIDS may yet remain elusive.
Philadelphia FIGHT (FIGHT) is a comprehensive AIDS service organization providing primary care, consumer education, advocacy and research on potential treatments and vaccines. To find out more go to http://fight.org/
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