amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research

From the Director: Leadership and Common Solutions: Talking -> Walking

Annette Sohn 2012The International AIDS Conference in July will be a platform for many voices—forceful, pragmatic, angry, frustrated, excited. While more potent treatments are becoming available for use in resource-limited settings, and new prevention opportunities are opening up, we continue to struggle with ensuring access to basic first-line treatments and with sharing the ever shrinking pool of global health funding. But instead of collaborating on strategies that seek to increase the size of the "pie," advocates for different groups at risk of HIV in Asia are still criticizing each other.

In this environment, the need for strong leadership is even greater. And, as noted by Secretary Clinton, achieving our common goal of an AIDS-free generation will require shared responsibility. Our response must involve both governments and individuals, such as the growing, community-led effort to phase out the use of the antiretroviral stavudine. With the drug options we have today, patients, clinicians, and program implementers should no longer accept that just being kept alive on a drug with serious side effects is good enough.

As the International AIDS Conference wraps up, our next steps must be to follow up on all the talk about what is not being done or is being done incorrectly, translating words into the collective action necessary to forge effective solutions. 

Annette Sohn, M.D.