Eliminating HIV by 2030 a real possibility, but ‘we’re not getting off to the right start’

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Credit: Panos

During his State of the Union address in February, President Donald Trump reiterated a promise he had made a year earlier: By 2030, the United States would bring an end to the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

It’s the sort of sweeping assurance that seems too good to be true, given Trump’s track record of broken pledges and his administration’s attempts to slash HIV-related programs and public health priorities.

Yet, many public health experts believe it’s more than possible to effectively eradicate the disease by 2030, both in the U.S. and across the world. It’ll take lots of work, though, and we’re not getting off to the right start.

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The idea is to find hidden HIV cases through screening, especially in high-risk groups; help get patients treatment that can hopefully make them non-contagious; and help vulnerable populations lower their risk of catching it.

In 2016, the United Nations published a report outlining its goal for ending HIV as a public health threat worldwide by 2030. To do so, the authors estimated, we would need fewer than 200,000 new infections per year, while 95 percent of people would know their HIV status, 95 percent of HIV-positive people would be on treatment, and 95 percent of those on treatment would have the virus fully suppressed.

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