The End of AIDS

Guest Columnist | 7/30/2012, 9:18 a.m.

In a fact sheet distributed with Secretary Clinton' speech, success was defined this way: "An AIDS-free generation entails that first, no one will be born with the virus; second, that as people get older, they will be at far lower risk of becoming infected than they are today; and third, that if they do acquire HIV, they will get treatment that keeps them healthy and prevents them from transmitting the virus to others."

Until the development of a vaccine or cure, success will be defined by reaching people around the globe and applying some of the successful approaches already working in many parts of the world, including widespread testing, reducing mother-to-child transmission and expanding treatment options.

In the early days in the disease, AIDS was seen as a death sentence.

Rae Lewis-Thornton, an AIDS activist, found out she was HIV-positive in 1983. In a forthcoming interview with Heart & Soul magazine, she said: "When I made that transition to AIDS seven years later was when it all hit me like a ton of bricks," Lewis-Thornton said "Then it became the expectation of death. The average time span from AIDS to death was three years."

But thanks to advancements in antiretroviral medications and greater emphasis on testing, prevention and treatment, AIDS is no longer a death sentence it was three decades ago.

George E. Curry, former editor-in-chief of Emerge magazine, is editor-in-chief of the National Newspaper Publishers Association News Service (NNPA) and editorial director of Heart & Soul magazine. He is a keynote speaker, moderator, and media coach. Curry can be reached through his Web site, www.georgecurry.com. You can also follow him at www.twitter.com/currygeorge.