HIV/AIDS is a catastrophe globally but nowhere more so than in sub-Saharan Africa, which in 2009 accounted for 68 percent of cases worldwide and 69 percent of new infections. The magnitude of the epidemic in Africa is further amplified in a region that lacks sufficient resources to meet the need for life-saving antiretroviral therapy (ART) and at the same time is home to those who need it the most. According to the World Health Organization’s most recent guidelines, just 36 percent of Africans needing ART are receiving it, and the need for treatment is expected to increase exponentially over the next decade. In order to offer solutions to the long-term burden of HIV/AIDS the IOM explored affordable, sustainable strategies that both African nations and the United States can implement. The IOM concludes that the burden of morbidity and mortality in Africa cannot be alleviated through treatment alone. Treatment can reach only a fraction of those who need it, and its costs are unsustainable. Greater emphasis must be placed on preventing new infections.
In this report, the IOM identifies strategies for both African nations and the United States to build African capacity—including human, scientific, technological, organizational, institutional, and/or resource capabilities—to prevent, treat, and care for HIV/AIDS. For African nations, the focus is to strengthen health care systems by making the most of existing capacities, such as health care workers on the ground and local institutions. For the United States, strategies focus on supporting partnerships, particularly institutional partnerships, so Africa can move forward independently toward a sustainable and healthier future. Shared responsibility between the United States and African nations will empower these nations to take ownership of their HIV/AIDS problem and work to solve it.