Far from over

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Science  15 Jun 2018:
Vol. 360, Issue 6394, pp. 1162-1163
DOI: 10.1126/science.360.6394.1162

The world has rallied around the goal of "ending AIDS" but Russia, Nigeria, and Florida stand out for their faltering responses to HIV.

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Graphics and data analysis by Jia You

AT FIRST GLANCE, Nigeria, Russia, and Florida have little in common. But each has had difficulty mounting an effective response to HIV/AIDS at a time when neighboring countries or states, buoyed by recent research advances, have made progress toward bringing their epidemics to an end.

Five of the main metrics that public health experts track to gauge progress against HIV are: How many people are living with the virus? What is the rate of new infection? What percentage of infected people are receiving antiretroviral drugs, which both stave off disease and prevent transmission? How many infected people have progressed to AIDS and how many have died from it? And how many children are infected by their mothers?

Much of the world has seen encouraging declines on many of those fronts. But Nigeria, Russia, and Florida stand out from their neighbors and, in some cases, the entire world. None of these three locales has high numbers on every one of these measures. But each ranks first—an unenviable distinction—in at least one of the five metrics assessed by total cases, rates, or proportions.

The aim of this package is not to shame Russia, Nigeria, or Florida, or, given their profound differences in population, politics, and economies, to compare them head-to-head. Rather, these stories describe the distinct challenges that have hampered each locale's response to HIV/AIDS. And they highlight people who are confronting those shortcomings and coming up with tailor-made, local solutions.

  • * Science produced these stories in collaboration with the PBS NewsHour, which is airing a five-part series starting 11 June. Reporting for this project was supported by the Pulitzer Center.

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