New Hope, New Concerns Dominate AIDS Conference

Posted July 26th, 2012 at 2:30 pm (UTC-5)
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Former U.S. first lady Laura Bush is helping energize the 2012 International AIDS Conference in Washington, reminding those in the audience of the progress in the fight against the deadly disease.

The wife of former President George W. Bush received enthusiastic applause Thursday as she spoke about the impact billions of dollars in U.S. funding for AIDS has made, especially in Africa.

Still, there are growing concerns that medical breakthroughs in the fight against AIDS will fail to help some of those most at risk from the deadly disease.

Researchers warned Thursday the sex industry's clients are already starting to talk on the Internet about how new treatments will make using condoms obsolete. Senior researcher Cheryl Overs of Australia's Monash University says reliance on “partially effective HIV methods” could allow the HIV virus to spread.

The World Health Organization's Doctor Gottfried Hirnschall says the plight of such vulnerable groups is why more must be done and that, “now is not the time to be timid.”

The World Health Organization's goal is to get 15 million people on life-saving AIDS drugs by 2015.

The United Nations says 34 million people live with HIV-AIDS, and 1.7 million died from the disease in 2011.