Advocacy group urges more action in fight against AIDS

Nairobi, Kenya (PANA) - After three decades of the fight against AIDS, much progress has been made in controlling the disease and transitioning the global response from one of emergency to one of sustainability, AIDS advocacy body, ONE, said in a report released in Nairobi, Kenya, Wednesday.

The number of people on treatment in low- and middle-income countries increased from just 300,000 in 2002 to eight million in 2011, while the annual price of antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) fell from hundreds of thousands of dollars to just hundreds of dollars.

Cases of mother-to-child transmission of HIV have fallen by 24 percent in only two years, and AIDS deaths have fallen by 24 percent since they peaked in 2005, said the 3 million member strong body.

ONE was, however, quick to point out that over 34 million people are living with HIV globally.

it said that Sub-Saharan Africa is still the region with the highest burden of disease, with 23.5 million people infected, and the epidemic is on the rise in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, particularly among marginalised populations.

However, the world has made far less headway in preventing new HIV infections. Over the past decade, 2.5 million people or more have become newly infected each year, including 330,000 infants and children in 2011.

Thankfully, there is hope because over the past few years, the combination of AIDS treatment, voluntary medical male circumcision and services to prevent mother-to-child transmission — in addition to other tools — has offered the global community a new paradigm for more effectively preventing new HIV infections.

Driven by new scientific findings and tools, a number of leaders from the scientific, political and advocacy communities have for the first time made calls for achieving “the beginning of the end of AIDS” or an “AIDS-free generation”, dramatically raising the stakes and lending credibility to a vision that until recently was seen as impossible.

To underscore these calls, member states at the United Nations have endorsed bold new global AIDS targets, including achieving access to treatment for 15 million people,virtually eliminating mother-to-child transmission and drastically reducing new infections.

One said in spite of this momentum, the opportunity to achieve the beginning of the end of AIDS will go unrealised if the status quo is maintained.

There is not yet shared global responsibility for achieving this goal, nor have stakeholders mapped out a collective plan for how to achieve the beginning of the end of AIDS with specific responsibilities or time-bound milestones.

If the global community is serious about achieving the beginning of the end of AIDS, there must be a renewed effort to examine, improve and scale up the financial, political and programmatic efforts needed to turn vision into action.
-0- PANA DJ/VAO 28Nov2012

28 november 2012 15:16:25




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