UN: UN study calls for boosted AIDS treatment efforts to stop new infections

New York, US (PANA) -The world risks a deadly AIDS rebound unless the countries most affected by the virus expand access to anti-retroviral treatments and boost their focus on stopping new infections, a new UN report has warned.

According to the findings of the study released Thursday by the Joint UN Programme on
HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and a famous medical journal, 'The Lancet', sustaining current HIV treatment and prevention efforts in the most affected African countries over the next 15 years would require at least a third of total government health expenditures, emphasizing the growing need for continued international support for these countries.

In a statement on the report, UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibe said: "We have to act now. The next five years provide a fragile window of opportunity to fast-track the response and end the AIDS epidemic by 2030, and if we don’t, the human and financial consequences will be catastrophic.

"The report does acknowledge that unprecedented progress has been made
over the years towards increasing access to HIV treatment globally.

"The UN, in fact, has steadily been rolling out a so-called fast-track approach highlighting the
need to focus on the counties, cities and communities most affected by HIV, and recommends
that resources be concentrated on the areas with the greatest impact in order to end the AIDS
epidemic by 2030.

"In particular, the approach calls for efforts in the 30 countries that together account for 89
per cent of new HIV infections worldwide. To fast-track national responses in these 30 priority
countries, UNAIDS maintains, will require extensive mobilization of human, institutional and
strategic international partners, as well as significant commitments from both national and
international sources.

"Despite some advances in the battles against the disease, however, the joint UNAIDS-Lancet
report warns that the rate of new HIV infections is not falling fast enough. This, combined with
high demographic growth in some of the most affected countries, is increasing the number
of people living with HIV who will need antiretroviral therapy to stay alive."

The report also called for an urgent need to scale up AIDS efforts, and further called on governments to ramp up HIV prevention efforts, and continue expanding access to treatment.

Professor Peter Piot, Director of London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and
lead author of the report, said: "We must face hard truths – if the current rate of new HIV
infections continues, merely sustaining the major efforts we already have in place will not
be enough to stop deaths from AIDS increasing within five years in many countries.

"Expanding sustainable access to treatment is essential, but we will not treat ourselves
out of the AIDS epidemic. We must also reinvigorate HIV prevention efforts, particularly
among populations at highest risk, while removing legal and societal discrimination."
-0-   PANA   AA/AR  25June2015

25 june 2015 17:23:28

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