By all accounts, 2016 has been a flaming rubbish tip of a year. It seems nearly everything that could go wrong at every level of society has, and most of us wish we could go back to the comparable wonderland that was 2015. It was a simpler time. A time before politicians co-opted memes, and when Pauline Hanson was only spoken about in the past tense.
Well, this right here is your weekly dose of good news. In fact, it could just be some of the best information you’ll hear during our planet’s current voyage around the sun: AIDS in Australia has been fought so well, and the number of deaths from the syndrome is now so low, that researchers have officially declared the epidemic “over”.
That’s bloody right. While around 1,000 deaths a year were recorded during the bastard disease’s peak prominence in the 90s, advances in anti-retroviral medications means most diagnosed cases of HIV never progress to the full-blown immune deficiency syndrome. If they do, new treatments for AIDS itself can effectively combat the formerly-fatal diagnosis.
Speaking to the ABC, Professor Andrew Grulich of the Kirby Institute said “these days we don’t even monitor it, it’s a transitory thing for most people; people have AIDS, then they go on treatment and they don’t have AIDS anymore.”
Darryl O’Donnell, CEO of the Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations added
“AIDS is over in the way we knew it… and community activism since the very early years of AIDS in the ’80s and ’90s has helped the efforts to fight it.”
It’s important to note this doesn’t mean that HIV, the bastard virus that is is, has been eradicated. Oh no. While great strides are being made in the fight against AIDS’ precursor, there’s still a lot of progress to be made on eliminating the virus from Australia and the rest of the world – especially in developing nations.
For the moment though, our nation’s experts saying AIDS has more or less been defeated is bloody grand. Eat that, 2016.