VOA Program Interviews Fauci About 25th Anniversary of HIV/AIDS Discovery
VOA's "Press Conference USA," a radio broadcast airing every Saturday on VOA channels, on Saturday interviewed Anthony Fauci, director of NIH's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, about the upcoming 25th anniversary of the first AIDS diagnosis. Fauci said that in the early 1980s, "there was a lot of confusion about just what this was ... and very little imagination that this could have been as bad as it's turned out to be." Eradicating HIV/AIDS globally might be "unlikely" because "it has taken such a firm hold throughout the world," Fauci said. He added that the disease now has "some resemblances" to a chronic illness with the increased availability of antiretroviral medications, which if provided appropriately and early enough can allow HIV-positive people to have longer life expectancies with "reasonably intact" immune systems. However, the "completely inaccurate impression that HIV just isn't so bad anymore" because of the availability of treatment is "probably responsible for the rebound blip" in the number of new HIV infections in the developed world, Fauci added. Fauci also discussed research for a vaccine against HIV/AIDS; the effectiveness of HIV prevention efforts, including male circumcision, condom use and needle-exchange programs; the need for political leadership and the empowerment of women in Africa to fight HIV/AIDS; rates of mother-to-child transmission in developed and developing countries; and how research on HIV/AIDS can assist public health officials in preparations for an avian flu pandemic (Castiel/McAlary, "Press Conference USA," VOA, 5/13).
The complete program is available online in RealPlayer. A related VOANews story also is available online.