Health Care

AIDS Deaths Down a Third since 2010, Says UN

AIDS Deaths Down a Third since 2010, Says UN”

Progress in some countries has been "impressive", the United Nations body's report said, but others are seeing rising numbers of HIV infections and AIDS-related deaths.

According to the report, "around 1.7 million people became newly infected with HIV in 2018, a 16% decline since 2010, driven mostly by steady progress across most of eastern and southern Africa".

Decades of research have yet to yield a cure or vaccine for the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), which has infected nearly 80 million people and killed more than 35 million since the early 1980s.

A red ribbon is put on the sleeves of a man by his friend to show support for people living with HIV during a program to raise awareness about AIDS on World AIDS Day in Kathmandu December 1, 2013. AIDS-related deaths have reduced by only 30,000 in 12 months, down to 770,000 in 2018; this compares to 800,000 people dying in 2017 and 840,000 deaths in 2016.

He was joined by the acting executive director of UNAIDS, Gunilla Carlson, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize, KZN Premier Sihle Zikalala, and others.

"South Africa has a rich history of communities being at the centre of the AIDS response, so it is fitting that we launch the 2019 UNAIDS Global AIDS Update in this country, in Eshowe, in KwaZulu-Natal, where a community-based service delivery model, with HIV at its centre, is showing results".

The UN said that more than half of new HIV infections globally come from "key populations" - intravenous drug users, gay men, transgender people, sex workers and prisoners.

Meanwhile, there has been an alarming increase in new HIV cases in Eastern Europe and Central Asia (29%), in the Middle East and North Africa (10%), and Latin America (7%).

But the report warned there is still a long way to go in many parts of eastern and southern Africa - the regions most affected by HIV.

"This starts with investing adequately and smartly and by looking at what's making some countries successful".

According to the report, less than 50% of key populations that were the focus of anti-HIV efforts were reached by HIV prevention services in half of the countries that reported.

The report stresses the urgency for countries and communities most affected by HIV to get the necessary resources and support to apply the lessons of community approaches of HIV testing and treatment.

An estimated 37.9 million people now live with HIV - and a record 23.3 million of those have access to some antiretroviral therapy (ART), UNAIDS said in its annual report.

The 90-90-90 targets are an important indicator of the success of a country's HIV response.

The 90-90-90 targets mean that 90 percent of people living with HIV know their status, 90 percent of those are on antiretroviral treatment and 90 percent of those have a suppressed viral load.

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