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HIV prevention efforts still need to be significantly stepped up

New HIV infections declined by 18% from 2010 to 2016, from 2.2 million to 1.8 million, but to reach the target of 500,000 new infections by 2020 HIV prevention efforts must be significantly stepped up, particularly among populations at higher risk.

In countries like the Philippines, HIV is far from over. In April 2018, there were 66 deaths among people with HIV. All were male. Eleven (17%) were 15-24 years old, 27 (41%) cases were from 25-34 years old, 27 (41%) cases were from 35-49 years old age group and one (1%) case was aged 50 years or older.

HIV issue is far from over.

New HIV infections declined by 18% from 2010 to 2016, from 2.2 million to 1.8 million, but to reach the target of 500,000 new infections by 2020 HIV prevention efforts must be significantly stepped up, particularly among populations at higher risk.

In countries like the Philippines, HIV is far from over. In April 2018, there were 66 deaths among people with HIV. All were male. Eleven (17%) were 15-24 years old, 27 (41%) cases were from 25-34 years old, 27 (41%) cases were from 35-49 years old age group and one (1%) case was aged 50 years or older.

This is according to the United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres in his report, Leveraging the AIDS response for United Nations reform and global health, where he said that “the world is making good progress towards ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030, but progress is uneven and fragile. At this pivotal moment, we must renew our focus and shared commitment to a world free of AIDS.”

At the halfway point to the 2020 Fast-Track Targets agreed by the United Nations General Assembly in 2016, United Nations Member States gathered to review progress in responding to HIV. Member States presented the progress and challenges in their countries and heard from the United Nations Secretary-General, who presented his report on the global response to HIV.

According to the president of the General Assembly, Miroslav Lajčák, “We cannot forget that what we are doing today ties into our other goals and objectives. We can use today’s meeting to explore opportunities for even more action. Let’s keep going. Let’s keep fighting this virus—and the stigma that comes with it.”

Guterres’ report shows that the exponential scale-up of antiretroviral therapy has now reached more than half of all people living with HIV, which in turn has contributed to a decline of one third in AIDS-related deaths, from 1.5 million in 2010 to 1 million in 2016. It also notes the progress in stopping new HIV infections among children and highlights that eliminating mother-to-child transmission of HIV is possible if the world remains focused.

The report also shows that while the number of people accessing treatment almost tripled from 2010 to June 2017, from 7.7 million people on treatment to 20.9 million, 15.8 million people are still in need of treatment, and progress in expanding access to treatment for children is particularly slow. Just 43% of children living with HIV had access to treatment in 2016.

The report shows there is still much work to do to reach the targets in the 2016 United Nations Political Declaration on Ending AIDS, including filling the US$ 7 billion shortfall in funding for the AIDS response. It sets out five strong recommendations to get countries on track, including mobilizing an HIV testing revolution, safeguarding human rights and promoting gender equality and using the HIV Prevention 2020 Road Map to accelerate reductions in new HIV infections.

In 2016 (*June 2017) an estimated:

  • *20.9 million [18.4 million–21.7 million] people were accessing antiretroviral therapy (in June 2017)
  • 36.7 million [30.8 million–42.9 million] people globally were living with HIV
  • 1.8 million [1.6 million–2.1 million] people became newly infected with HIV
  • 1.0 million [830 000–1.2 million] people died from AIDS-related illnesses

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