AIDS death figures dropped by 'almost half' in 11 years

AIDS death figures dropped by 'almost half' in 11 years

The report shows that, globally, new HIV infections are declining, but not at enough pace to meet global targets by 2020.

"We need to proactively address the rising levels of resistance to HIV drugs if we are to achieve the global target of ending AIDS by 2030", warned the United Nations agency's Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. "Around 30 percent of people living with HIV still do not know their HIV status, 17.1 million people living with HIV do not have access to anti retroviral therapy, and more than half of all people living with HIV are not virally suppressed".

"We met the 2015 target of 15 million people on treatment, and we are on track to double that number to 30 million and meet the 2020 target", UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé told the BBC. Another important data highlighted by the organization director was inequality among some regions regarding access to medicines.

Southern and eastern Africa have seen the most dramatic improvements, with annual new infections dropping by 29 percent since 2010, while annual AIDS fatalities plummeted by 42 percent. This has increased the life expectancy in numerous worst affected regions such as eastern and southern Africa.

In South Africa, there are about 7 million adults and children living with HIV.

According to the 13th Resource Tracking for HIV Prevention Working Group on Prevention Research & Development Investments, 2016, there has been a decline in investment priorities to fund the search for a vaccine for more than a decade. The report suggested that linkages between HIV testing and antiretroviral therapy initiation require strengthening, and that treatment adherence is a challenge. Malawi, Mozambique, Uganda and Zimbabwe have gone further, cutting new HIV infections by 40 per cent or more since 2010.

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"For more than 35 years, the world has grappled with an AIDS epidemic that has claimed an estimated 35 million lives." the report said.

In Kenya, for example, an analysis in 2014 found that 65% of new HIV infections occurred in just nine of the country's 47 counties.

There are still one third of HIV positive persons who are unaware of their status and are spreading the virus.

As a result, more people in what had been some of the worst affected countries, are now living longer. UNAIDS urged more efforts to keep PLWA in care once they have begun treatment, and lamented that one-third (33 per cent) of people on treatment do not achieve viral suppression. In these regions AIDS related deaths have risen by 48% (in Middle East and north Africa) and 38% (in eastern Europe and Central Asia).

It said that 88pc of women living with HIV in Myanmar were accessing services for the prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission.

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