Feature story

The Lancet: Series on HIV prevention launched

06 August 2008

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The Lancet in conjunction with UNAIDS
has produced a special series of six major articles on the future of global HIV prevention and held a lunchtime symposium with the authors on 5 August during the International AIDS conference Mexico City.
Credit: UNAIDS/agencialibrefoto

25 years into the global AIDS response it is clear that advances made in HIV prevention have not been sufficient to get ahead of the epidemic.

The Lancet in conjunction with UNAIDS has produced a special series of six major articles on the future of global HIV prevention and held a lunchtime symposium with the authors and editors on 5 August during the International AIDS conference Mexico City.

The papers address the history of the global response to HIV, the evidence for biomedical interventions, how to improve behavioural approaches, addressing and understanding structural approaches, and how to make HIV prevention programmes work more effectively. They cite the successes and failures in HIV prevention to date, and conclude with a call to action for combination prevention to be implemented on a massive scale.

Coming to terms with complexity

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UNAIDS Executive Director Dr Peter Piot.
Credit: UNAIDS/agencialibrefoto

The sixth article, by UNAIDS Executive Director Dr Peter Piot*, argues that the key challenges to more effective HIV prevention lie in addressing sex, including being frank with young people; dealing with drug use rationally, and looking to the long term.

“Coming to terms with complexity” proposes that tailored “combination prevention” is as necessary as “combination treatment” when it comes to stopping the HIV epidemic. The paper explores the core technical, political and capacity gaps which stand in the way of fully effective combination prevention and is a call to action to overcome these challenges and to sustain an HIV prevention movement that mobilizes to curb HIV transmission globally.

*Authors of “Coming to terms with complexity: A call to action for HIV prevention”: Peter Piot (UNAIDS), Michael Bartos (UNAIDS) Heidi Larson (Clark University/Harvard University), Purnima Mane, (UNFPA), Debrework Zewdie (World Bank).

Call to action

  • We urge governments, communities and scientists to fully implement combination HIV prevention, and urge the international community to mobilize all the support necessary for this effort.
  • We call for sustained political and technical leadership for the AIDS response
  • We urge international institutions, national governments, and community activists to work to build demand for HIV prevention
  • We urge scientists, research funders, and programme planners to broaden the HIV-prevention research agenda
  • We call for immediate investment in building capacities at all levels for HIV-prevention efforts

The Lancet

As a leading independent journal of global medicine, The Lancet is committed to advancing health for all people around the world. It publishes research aimed at changing medical practice and adding informed analysis and opinion to scientific and policy debates. The aim of the The Lancet Global Health Network site is to bring together international scientific and public health experts. The network synthesizes evidence, conducts new analyses, devises programmatic recommendations, and formulates proposals for action in international health and development. The series can be accessed on The Lancet Global Health Network web site

The Lancet Series on HIV Prevention

1. The history and challenge of HIV prevention Jeffrey O'Malley

2. Biomedical interventions to prevent HIV: Evidence, challenges and the way forward Nancy Padian

3. Behavioral strategies to reduce HIV transmission: How to make them work better Thomas Coates

4. Understanding and addressing structural factors in HIV prevention Jessica Ogden

5. Making HIV prevention programmes work Stefano M Bertozzi

6. Coming to terms with complexity: A call to action for HIV prevention Peter Piot

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External links:

The Lancet Global Health Network