At this week's American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in San Diego, researchers from the South African Center for Epidemiological Modeling and Analysis (SACEMA) proposed that aggressive, blanket HIV testing and early treatment would eliminate HIV/AIDS worldwide within 30 years, Voice of America News reports. The strategy, which is based on a mathematical model, would target the world's most at-risk populations.

“If in fact you get people very soon after they are HIV positive and put them on antiretrovirals, you reduce the aggregate viral load in the entire population,” said SACEMA director John Hargrove. “Therefore you will reduce the rate at which new infections occur.”

Hargrove added that under this proposed global strategy, people would be tested for HIV once a year. Testing would be voluntary, though “very strongly” recommended. And people who test positive would have free antiretroviral therapy for the rest of their lives.

Such a program would cost up to $3 billion annually in South Africa alone.