For the first time in modern history, the world has the opportunity “to change the very course of the HIV pandemic, by actually controlling it without a vaccine or a cure,” according to the latest U.S. report on HIV/AIDS relief.

Five African countries – Malawi, Swaziland, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe – are now close to controlling the HIV epidemic, according to the PEPFAR report. Achieving control assumes that if people with HIV are tested early in their infection and immediately begin treatment, then the virus will become suppressed in their bloodstream and that will decrease the onward transmission of HIV in the population.

Not too long ago, that might have seemed impossible in those countries.

The latest PEPFAR strategy targets 13 countries that have the most communities vulnerable to HIV/AIDS and that have the potential to control HIV by 2020: Botswana, Côte d’Ivoire, Haiti, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Rwanda.

Source: U.S. Mission Brazil