This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 13th (it will be out in January 2020), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

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Thursday, September 21, 2017

Will HIV Be Gone from this World by 2030?

Target 3.3 of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is as follows: By 2030, end the epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, and neglected tropical diseases and combat hepatitis, water-borne diseases, and other communicable diseases. None of this is going to be easy, but the world has been making progress, even if very unevenly, with respect to health indicators, as evidenced by the most recent report on the Global Burden of Disease project published this month in The Lancet (see graph below for the current world situation):

The health picture vividly reminds us that sub-Saharan Africa is still the least healthy region in the world, and that has been severely aggravated by the high incidence of HIV and the subsequent deaths from AIDS. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is one of the major funders of the Global Burden of Disease project, and, as I noted a few days ago, they are keeping close track of world progress on the SDGs. If you have followed their work over the years, you will know that they are also actively trying to save lives, and today comes the news of a new program aimed at curbing HIV infections and AIDS deaths in Africa:
Makers of generic AIDS drugs will start churning out millions of pills for Africa containing a state-of-the-art medicine widely used in rich countries, after securing a multi-million dollar guarantee that caps prices at just $75 per patient a year.
Bill Gates’ charitable foundation will guarantee minimum sales volumes of the new combination pills using dolutegravir, a so-called integrase inhibitor that avoids the drug resistance that often develops with older treatments.
In return the drugmakers, India-based Mylan Laboratories and Aurobindo Pharma, will agree the maximum price of about $75 per patient for a year’s supply - less than the list price for one day’s supply of a dolutegravir combination in the United States.
The agreement, which will make the treatment available to 92 poor countries, starting in Africa, will be formally announced during the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Thursday. 
This sounds like a much more hopeful and positive announcement than most of what has come out of the UNGA this week.

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