Published: Sat, July 22, 2017
Medical | By Ismael Lynch

Half of HIV-infected get treatment now: UNAIDS

Half of HIV-infected get treatment now: UNAIDS

According to a UNAIDS new report, for the first time the scales have tipped: more than half of all people living with HIV (53%) now have access to HIV treatment and AIDS related deaths and AIDS related deaths have nearly halved since 2005.In 2016, 19.5 million of the 36.7 million people living with HIV had access to treatment, and AIDS-related deaths have fallen from 1.9 million 2005 to 1 million in 2016.

The report says that in the world's most affected region, eastern and southern Africa, the number of people on treatment has more than doubled since 2010, reaching almost 10.3 million people.

However, UNAIDS sounded the alarm over developments in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, the only world regions where HIV infections and AIDS-related deaths are on the rise.

Meanwhile, the gains made with the Ante Retro Viral (ARV) drugs which is used to manage persons living with HIV may be lost, if nothing was done urgently to address the rising resistance of the virus to available medications.

The UN plan, which aims to ensure that 90 percent of key populations have access to HIV prevention services, has also seen progress as annual new HIV infections in Myanmar have fallen by 26 percent since 2010.

"Another positive note is that the scale has tipped and more than half of all people (52 per cent) living with HIV in the region are on antiretroviral therapy".

"Since 2010, Aids-related deaths have declined by 42%".

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Since the beginning of the epidemic, in the early 1980s, 76.1 million people have been infected with HIV and 35 million died, the equivalent of the population of Canada.

Unless something is done, drug-resistant virus strains may infect an extra 105,000 people and kill 135,000 over the next five years, and boost treatment costs by $650 million, said the World Health Organization (WHO). "The decline is a strong indicator of Myanmar's national HIV response", he said.

In 2016 the figures were 70%, 77% and 82% respectively. The AIDS-related deaths have reduced to half since 2005. These 10 countries itself accounted for more than 95% of the total new HIV infections in the region in 2016. Out of those who knew their HIV status, only 52% were taking ART therapy and 83% of same are virally suppressed.

East and Southern Africa, Western and Central Europe, North America, and Latin America are all on track to reach the 90-90-90 targets by 2020.

The results, based on data from the end of 2016, also show that programs supported by the Global Fund partnership provided 4.3 million pregnant women with antiretroviral medicines to prevent the transmission of HIV to their unborn children.

Going by this trend, the global target of reducing the figure to 500,000 a year by 2020 - adopted as a global target by UNAIDS in 2013 - seems unattainable.

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