HIV Specialist - June 2021 - 2

LETTER FROM THE
DIRECTOR
A Global Perspective
THE WORLDWIDE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC beginning in 2020 was a stark
reminder of the interconnectedness of the world and how much we rely on
international cooperation and consensus in our research, recommendations and
response to public health crises. While the American Academy of HIV Medicine, as
its name suggests, focuses its attentions primarily on the specific needs of domestic
HIV providers, there is no denying the truly global nature of the work that we do.
As we pass the 40th anniversary of the first reported cases of HIV/AIDS in the U.S., and in
that spirit of requisite worldwide collaboration and cooperation, we are once again looking
here in the HIV Specialist at the impact and prospects of the HIV epidemic on an international
level. We know that fairly significant geographical disparities exist in access to care,
treatment and prevention services even within the U.S. itself, so it must be that the unevenness
of policies affecting HIV/AIDS and the quality of access is underscored even more
dramatically on a global scale.
In this issue, we take a close look at the broad misalignments of individual U.N. memBy
BRUCE J. PACKETT II
Executive Director, AAHIVM
ber nation states' HIV policies with the core international recommendations. It would be
tempting to think that the US should or would be leading the way in full alignment with these
evidence- and science-based recommendations, but even domestically we still fight against
various deleterious criminalizations, including sex work, HIV transmission laws, bans on
certain harm reduction efforts, etc.
We also look at the impact of the ongoing HIV/AIDS epidemic in Latinx communities, in
sub-Saharan Africa, Ethiopia, Japan, Puerto Rico and the Caribbean, and elsewhere. While
significant resource and other challenges in these places clearly remain, the prospects are not
all grim: PrEP is increasing in uptake and availability worldwide (though obvious geographical
disparities of access and acceptability remain); newer ARV options are more broadly distributed;
and governments and international programs are laser focusing on the populations
most in-need. This issue also expertly delves into the new U.S .Administration's efforts to End
the Epidemic, with a marked increase in appropriations aimed at eradication of new transmissions,
a reinvigorated Office of National AIDS Policy and a host of new appointments of
HIV thought leaders to key positions.
Only through a truly globally concerted effort and from an ecumenical point of view,
involving all the major international organizations, programs, and nation states, will we
truly be in a position to see the end of HIV/AIDS in our lifetime, and that starts with understanding
the specific challenges and policies confronted in all parts of the world, whether
resource-poor and incidence-high, or the reverse. We thank our global HIV experts who have
contributed thoughtfully to these pages, and we hope it serves as an enlightenment to all HIV
providers in whatever setting, domestic or abroad, about the nature of the challenges faced as
well as the cooperative opportunities and examples of progress and success.
2 JUNE 2021 HIVSPECIALIST WWW.AAHIVM.ORG
http://WWW.AAHIVM.ORG

HIV Specialist - June 2021

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