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What Are the Greatest Challenges to Ending AIDS?

World AIDS Day — held annually on Dec. 1 — was established by the World Health Organization in 1988 to raise awareness of HIV/AIDS, commemorate those who have passed on, and celebrate victories such as increased access to treatment and prevention services. 

Since the beginning of the HIV epidemic, Abt Global has worked to strengthen HIV/AIDS responses through effective technical assistance, innovative interventions, and best-practice tools. We have sought, as a company and as individuals, to contribute to efforts to reduce the suffering and the painful impact that HIV/AIDS has had throughout our communities.

In observance of World AIDS Day 2012, Abt Global asked two of its leaders in HIV/AIDS to talk about the greatest obstacles to ending the spread of AIDS.

According to Scott Royal, Division Vice President of U.S. Health at Abt, the greatest challenge in the United States is reaching people who are unaware of their HIV status, getting them tested and, if necessary, into treatment. People in cities such as Washington, D.C. still show up in emergency departments with infections, are found to have AIDS, and were completely unaware of their status. “And now they have a much more difficult path of treatment ahead of them. This is unacceptable,” Royal said. 

Ann Lion is a vice president in Abt’s International Health division and serves on the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria’s Finance and Operational Performance Committee. She noted that although much progress has been made in the effort to control HIV/AIDS, the largest obstacle to controlling the spread of AIDS is to maintain the funding needed to continue this momentum. Domestic funding has increased, but global funding levels for HIV/AIDS have either been flat-lined or decreased over the last several years. An estimated $7 billion more is needed to properly deal with HIV/AIDS globally, Lion said. 

Read descriptions of Abt’s ongoing HIV/AIDS-related work, both in the United States and around the world in the public and private sector.

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