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The OptAIDS project: towards global halting of HIV/AIDS

BMC Public Health
Springer (Biomed Central Ltd.)
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1186/1471-2458-9-s1-s1
  • Introduction
  • Medicine

Abstract ral ss BioMed CentBMC Public Health Open AcceIntroduction The OptAIDS project: towards global halting of HIV/AIDS Robert J Smith?*1 and Richard Gordon2 Address: 1Department of Mathematics and Faculty of Medicine, The University of Ottawa, 585 King Edward Drive, Ottawa ON K1N 6N5, Canada and 2Department of Radiology, University of Manitoba, Room GA216, HSC, 820 Sherbrook Street, Winnipeg MB R3A 1R9 Canada Email: Robert J Smith?* - [email protected]; Richard Gordon - [email protected] * Corresponding author Introduction We face a unique, transitory opportunity in the history of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, because we have collectively pooled money faster than the epidemic has grown [1]. Can we then seize the moment and halt this epidemic now? Most scenarios for the future of HIV/AIDS project modest reductions spread out over decades [2]. The very timescale of such projections, beyond the persistence time of all models, makes them unreliable [3]. Can we do bet- ter, quicker? The OptAIDS project was conceived as a means to address this issue. Its implementation thus far has been twofold: a workshop held in July 2008 and this supplement on the eradication of AIDS. The aims of the project are to address two questions: 1. Can we optimally spend our way out of the HIV/AIDS epidemic? 2. Can we work together to build a World Halting AIDS Model (WHAM) that would permit us to estimate the quickest way to halt HIV/AIDS, monitor our success, and adjust our strategy as we go? The OptAIDS project grew out of a frustration with exist- ing attempts to tackle the disease. AIDS exceptionalism means that HIV/AIDS is handled differently from other public-health epidemics, which has likely been detrimen- tal [4,5]. Consequently, much of the funding of HIV/AIDS expanding epidemic rather than quantitatively effective intervention. Although fund accumulation has recently outpaced the epidemic, we argue that plans to spend donor money are too long range in the face

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