On Tuesday December 1, World AIDS Day, HBO premiered VICE's new hour-long special report, Countdown to Zero, about the breakthroughs in treatment and prevention of HIV and AIDS. In it, VICE co-founders Shane Smith and Suroosh Alvi talk to the patients, policymakers, activists, clinicians, and researchers leading the international charge for an AIDS-free world.
Smith also sat down with former president George W. Bush to talk about the PEPFAR (President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief) initiative, one of the lasting legacies of the Bush administration. Alvi and Bono—U2's singer and co-founder of (RED) and One—then headed to Rwanda, where PEPFAR's efforts have almost fully eliminated mother-to-child HIV transmission and cut infection rates in half.
While progress looks good in Rwanda, South Africa still struggles to stem the disease, but the country's clinics are about to launch the largest vaccine trial in history.
"We're on the brink of scientific developments that will end the disease for good—but it isn't gone yet," says Shane Smith. "Millions are still being infected every year. This documentary is a comprehensive look at the state of HIV/AIDS today, how far we've come in fighting it, and how far we still have to go."
The full special report is now available to view online for those of you who missed it on HBO. Give it a watch above to find out how close we really are to finding a cure for this disease and erradicating this global epidemic.
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