Gates urges more tools, vaccine to end AIDS

July 23, 2012 by Kerry Sheridan

AIDS cannot be halted through treatment alone, and more prevention tools, in particular a vaccine, are needed to move seriously toward ending it, philanthropist Bill Gates said Monday.

While the tycoon applauded efforts to get more people worldwide on -- and said his foundation funds both research and care -- he noted more is needed to stamp out the .

"No one should think that we have got the tools yet. We will get the tools but only if we stay the course in terms of the scientific ," Gates told the International AIDS Conference in the US capital.

His Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has committed more than $2.5 billion in HIV grants to organizations around the world, and has also committed more than $1.4 billion to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

Gates spoke to the conference, the world's largest gathering of AIDS scientists and advocates, as part of a panel on how to improve efficiency in funding of the three-decade-old disease that has killed 30 million people.

Gates said research toward a is "very exciting" but noted that even if a vaccine were introduced it would take time before the effects would be seen in the larger population.

"If you get a vaccine say in 10 years then the number of people you need to put on treatment is reduced in about 18 years," he said.

"Unfortunately there is this unbelievable lag time that comes out of that."

More than eight million people in low and middle income countries were on antiretroviral treatment in 2011 according to a UNAIDS report released last week, making up about half of those in need worldwide.

But Gates warned that no amount of funding can come up with enough money to treat everyone infected.

"It is clear that even if you take the most efficient way of doing this work -- the number of people who will eventually need to be on treatment, the amount of money we have is not enough to treat those people," he said.

"The world will make a decision how much those lives matter. And we are in a period of incredible uncertainty right now," he added.

"Just the uncertainty alone creates a certain instability."

Gates urged continued involvement by the AIDS community and reiterated the importance for nations and donors to support research, but also expressed support for ongoing treatment initiatives in the meantime.

"Now if somebody could cure -- which unfortunately that's very much a long shot," he said.

"There are people who are working it but... it is not in the cards at least any time soon, that is why this imperative is so dramatic."

Explore further: AIDS charity honors Gates on eve of global conference

Related Stories

AIDS charity honors Gates on eve of global conference

July 22, 2012
Leading AIDS charity amfAR honored Microsoft tycoon Bill Gates on the eve of the International AIDS Conference, for his part in funding an ongoing struggle against the disease.

US donates extra $150 million to battle AIDS

July 23, 2012
(AP) — Science now has the tools to slash the spread of HIV even without a vaccine — and the U.S. is donating an extra $150 million to help poor countries put them in place, the Obama administration told the world's ...

Recommended for you

Scientists find where HIV 'hides' to evade detection by the immune system

October 19, 2017
In a decades-long game of hide and seek, scientists from Sydney's Westmead Institute for Medical Research have confirmed for the very first time the specific immune memory T-cells where infectious HIV 'hides' in the human ...

National roll-out of PrEP HIV prevention drug would be cost-effective

October 18, 2017
Providing pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) medication to men who have sex with men who are at high risk of HIV infection (equivalent to less than 5% of men who have sex with men at any point in time) in England would be cost-effective, ...

Regulatory T cells harbor HIV/SIV virus during antiviral drug treatment

October 17, 2017
Scientists at Yerkes National Primate Research Center, Emory University have identified an additional part of the HIV reservoir, immune cells that survive and harbor the virus despite long-term treatment with antiviral drugs.

New research opens the door to 'functional cure' for HIV

October 17, 2017
In findings that open the door to a completely different approach to curing HIV infections, scientists from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have for the first time shown that a novel compound effectively ...

Researchers create molecule that could 'kick and kill' HIV

October 5, 2017
Current anti-AIDS drugs are highly effective at making HIV undetectable and allowing people with the virus to live longer, healthier lives. The treatments, a class of medications called antiretroviral therapy, also greatly ...

A sixth of new HIV patients in Europe 50 or older: study

September 27, 2017
People aged 50 and older comprise a growing percentage of HIV patients in Europe, accounting for one in six new cases in 2015, researchers said Wednesday.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.