UN: UN urges 'fast-track' approach to end AIDS epidemic by 2030

New York, US (PANA) - Taking a fast-track approach in the battle against AIDS over the next five years will avert 21 million deaths and allow the world to end the epidemic by 2030, the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) said in a new report on Tuesday.

The report, entitled: "Fast-Track: Ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030", outlined a set of targets that would need to be reached by 2020, including 90-90-90: 90 per cent of people living with HIV knowing their HIV status, 90 per cent of people who know their HIV-positive status on treatment, and 90 per cent of people on treatment with suppressed viral loads.

Mr. Michel Sidibe, Executive Director of UNAIDS, who spoke at the launch of the report said: "We have bent the trajectory of the epidemic. Now we have five years to break it for good or risk the epidemic rebounding out of control."

He said that the fast-track approach emphasizes 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 particular, the approach highlights that efforts are needed 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 will require extensive mobilization of human, institutional and strategic international partners, as well as significant commitments from both national and international sources," Mr. Sidibe said.

He said other targets included reducing the annual number of new HIV infections by more than 75 per cent to 500,000 in 2020, and achieving zero discrimination, noting that, adhering to the targets would mean that nearly 28 million new HIV infections would be averted by 2030.

"By June 2014, some 13.6 million people had access to anti-retroviral therapy, which is a huge step towards ensuring that 15 million people have access by 2015, but still a long way from the fast-track targets. Efforts are particularly needed to close the treatment gap for children," the UNAIDS chief stressed.

Mr. Sidibe said the report also underscored that investment was critical to achieving the targets, saying as such, low-income countries would require a peak of US$9.7 billion in funding in 2020, and lower-middle-income countries would need US$8.7 billion.

Furthermore, he said, international funding support would be needed to supplement domestic investments, particularly in low-income countries, which were currently only funding about 10 per cent of their responses to HIV through domestic sources.

Upper-middle-income countries would require US$17.2 billion in 2020, he said, adding that in 2013, 80 per cent of upper-middle-income countries were financing their responses to HIV through domestic sources.

"If we invest just US$3 dollars a day for each person living with HIV for the next five years we would break the epidemic for good," Mr. Sidibe said, adding that each dollar invested would produce a US$15 return.

"If sufficient investments are achieved, global resource needs will start to reduce from 2020.
By 2030, the annual resources required in all low- and middle-income countries will decline
to US$32.8 billion, down 8 per cent from the US$35.6 billion needed in 2020. These resources
will provide anti-retroviral treatment to twice as many people in 2020 than in 2015," he stated.

According to the report, in 2013, UNAIDS estimates that 35 million people globally were living with HIV, while 2.1 million people became newly infected with the virus and 1.5 million people died from AIDS-related illnesses.

The report was launched at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), US, and Mr. Sidibe was joined by US actress Charlize Theron, UN Messenger of Peace and Founder of the Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project at the ceremony.
-0- PANA AA/MA 18Nov2014

18 november 2014 22:31:04




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