Health Experts Push For More Investments In HIV Vaccine, Cure

Health experts called for concerted efforts to accelerate investments and funding in global scientific HIV vaccine research and engagement towards a cure for HIV/AIDS.

They were speaking during the 12th International Workshop on HIV Treatment, Pathogenesis, and Prevention Research in Resource Limited Settings which opened on Tuesday in Rwandan capital, Kigali.

The small central African country hosts the event from May 29 to June 1 with a focus on sharing knowledge and experiences in the diagnosis and treatment of HIV in Africa and beyond.

Increased global investments and funding in HIV cure and vaccine research is key as the whole world puts its attention to the deadly virus, said Linda Gail Bekker, deputy director of the Desmond Tutu HIV Center and current President of the International AIDS Society, South Africa.

It is clear that success in the search for a cure for HIV will require sustained funding over the next couple of years, said Bekker.

She called on the global economies and the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) to support the scaling up of HIV vaccine and cure research to stop new infections.

Channeling more investments in HIV cure and vaccine research, and attracting the best scientists from around the world to engage in the research could become a reality, according to Carolyn Williamson, head of division at National Health Laboratory Service, one of the largest diagnostic pathology services in South Africa.

In 2016, around 1.8 million people were newly infected with HIV and although the number of new infections has declined in recent years, the world is still far from achieving the UNAIDS Fast-Track Target of reducing new HIV infections to fewer than 500,000 by 2020, UNAIDS said in a statement earlier this month.

For the past decade, investments have remained steady, at around USD900 million per year, which is less than 5 percent of the total resources needed for the AIDS response. (Xinhua)

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