In recognition of Dec. 1 as World AIDS Day, BWH physician Neil Gupta, MD, MPH, contributed a compelling op-ed piece to The Atlantic on HIV treatment in Rwanda. Gupta, the deputy clinical director for Partners In Health in Rwanda, has witnessed the success of Rwanda’s approach to HIV care and treatment, and the impact it has had on the lives of Rwandans.
He writes: “In Rwanda, where just 20 years ago a genocide claimed approximately 1 million lives, the government has transformed HIV care for the poor by redefining the standards for successful treatment. More than three decades into the epidemic, many national and international agencies are still counting the basics—how many people get infected, how many people receive medication, how many patients die. Success in Rwanda, meanwhile, is measured not in the number remaining alive, but rather in how many are actually able to take their medications as directed and suppress the virus in their bodies to a level where it is essentially non-existent. In Rwanda, success is achieved when people living with HIV can earn a living, support their family, raise their children, and care for their community no differently than their peers.”