AIDS expert to give a historical perspective of pandemic | AspenTimes.com

AIDS expert to give a historical perspective of pandemic

Charles Agar
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

Melina Mara/The Washington PostDr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks Tuesday at Aspen's Paepcke Auditorium.

ASPEN ” With the AIDS pandemic in its 27th year this year, an AIDS expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, will put the crisis in a historical perspective in a talk at the Aspen Institute on Tuesday.

Fauci, a scientist and the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, was recently in the news for his talk at the International AIDS Conference in Mexico City, as well as his call for caution about a planned human trial of an HIV vaccination.

In his talk, “The AIDS Era: An Historical Perspective” scheduled at the Paepcke Auditorium at 6:30 p.m., Fauci said he will take the audience on a journey from early detection of the disease to developments today.

Beginning with the “frustrating and painful” early years when virtually every patient died from the disease ” mostly gay men in L.A., San Francisco and New York ” Fauci will take the audience through the many improvements in treatment and ongoing advocacy.

Fauci is a government scientist and head of a research organization. He is also a member of the president’s emergency plan for AIDS relief, and in 2002 traveled to Africa to put together a program to monitor and assist 15 nations with major AIDS issues.

In 2007, there were 2.7 million new AIDS infections worldwide and 2.1 million deaths, Fauci said. Some 90 percent of the cases are in the developing world, with the majority in sub-Saharan Africa.

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Until recently, only 50,000 people in developing countries received treatment for AIDS. Now that number tops 3 million, Fauci said.

In some countries, the pandemic has leveled off, while in others AIDS is still on the rise. The U.S. epidemic has shifted to African-American young men and women living in poverty.

The AIDS expert said education, such as his planned talk at the institute, are important for ongoing AIDS education and prevention.

Fauci said he is not against recent plans for developing an HIV vaccine, but called for caution before an expensive trial on humans.

“We need to be very careful before we embark on large clinical trials,” he said.

Tickets for Tuesday’s talk are $10 and are available at http://www.aspenshowtickets.com or by calling 920-5770.

cagar@aspentimes.com

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