Thanks George Bush. Thanks Condoleezza Rice. Thanks Bono for getting the Aids crisis under control. This is the time of year when we hear the sweet music and see the pictures of all the notable people who have died this past year and we reflect on the impact they left on our lives. I want to reflect on the near death of AIDS thanks to the efforts of those three people over 2 decades ago. Although 911 can never be forgotten as a major blunder under George Bush’s watch. Credit must be given to the man who realized that money had to be spent to get the deadly disease under control.
Now there is a drug called Truvada. It is a single pill you take every day that contains 2 compounds that prevents the virus from replicating in the body. It was approved in 2012 by the FDA as a prevention drug. With use of the drug gay men were not getting new infections. The goal is to reduce all infections by 2020 and the goal is already succeeding over time. Over the past few years and in 2014 they received the lowest number ever. There are many people now that don’t even realize the serious epidemic AIDS became in the 80’s and 90’s. It broke out in 1981. Today there are 37 million people living with HIV and last year alone more than a million people died from its causes but despite these horrific numbers breakthroughs in developing a vaccine is near and Truvada is a giant leap forward in preventing the spread of the disease.
There has even been great progress towards a cure. Reflect on that and be thankful. Thirty years ago if you tested positive for HIV it was a death sentence. Today there are dozens of different drugs available to suppress the virus. Despite that, since the 80’s nearly 30 million people have died from AIDS. In 2003 there was a vaccine developed in Thailand but proved to be only 30% effective. There is hope that the newer version will be more effective. South Africa still has the most HIV infections in the world. Today more than 25 million people there are HIV positive. Is is there where they are currently testing the most recent vaccine trial. In the past, in the year 2000, the government there would not even acknowledge that HIV was a cause of AIDS.
In 2002 a global initiative was formed to at least fund research into stopping mother to child transmission of the disease. Bono lobbied Washington, Rice told Bush to pay attention that AIDS was a pandemic that was destroying an entire generation of people and soon America funded programs in Africa that turned out to be one of the largest relief efforts in history for modern medicine. He supported the largest amount of money ever in going after a disease. In 2001 George Bush committed 200 million dollars to the effort to end death by this disease. No other country in the United Nations joined in the effort. In 2002 he committed an additional 500 million dollars to stop mother to child transmission of the disease. Now that is not a problem. Let us not just remember who died but also what died in the past. AIDS is now manageable and less people are contracting the deadly disease.