UN: UNAIDS says countries adopting Fast-Track Strategy to end HIV/AIDS

New York, US (PANA) - Ahead of the World AIDS Day 2015, UNAIDS on Tuesday released a new report showing that countries are getting on its Fast-Track Strategy to end AIDS by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

A UNAIDS statement, obtained by PANA in New York, stated: "By adapting to a changing global environment and maximizing innovations, countries are seeing greater efficiencies and better results in their fight against the HIV/AIDS."

It said that progress in responding to HIV over the past 15 years has been extraordinary, noting that, by June 2015, UNAIDS estimates that 15.8 million people were accessing
anti-retroviral therapy, compared to 7.5 million people in 2010 and 2.2 million people in 2005.

"At the end of 2014, UNAIDS estimates that new HIV infections had fallen by 35 per cent since the peak in 2000 and AIDS-related deaths have fallen by 42 per cent since the 2004 peak.

"Every five years we have more than doubled the number of people on life-saving treatment," the statement quoted Michel Sidibe, Executive Director of UNAIDS, as saying.

He stated: "We need to do it just one more time to break the AIDS epidemic and keep it from rebounding, and the life-changing benefits of anti-retroviral therapy mean that people living with HIV are living longer, healthier lives, which has contributed to an increase in the global number of people living with HIV."

"At the end of 2014, UNAIDS estimates that 36.9 million people were living with HIV, and once diagnosed, people need immediate access to anti-retroviral therapy," Mr. Sidibe stressed.

He also disclosed that countries are gearing up to double the number of people accessing HIV treatment by 2020.

The UNAIDS chief said: "This Fast-Track approach will be instrumental in achieving the UNAIDS 90–90–90 treatment target of ensuring that 90 per cent of people living with HIV know their HIV status, 90 per cent of people who know their HIV-positive status are on treatment and 90 per cent of people on treatment have suppressed viral loads."

"Today, we have more HIV prevention options than ever before, and with better data, we can become better match makers, finding the right prevention options for the right people," said Mr Sidibe.

He also added: "To end AIDS as a public health threat, an accelerated and more focused response is needed using better data to map and reach peoplein the places where the most new HIV infections occur."

"To support countries with this approach, UNAIDS has released a new report, Focus on location and population: on the Fast-Track to end AIDS by 2030, which gives examples of more than 50 communities, cities and countries that are using innovative approaches to reach more people with comprehensive HIV prevention and treatment services.

"Through the responsible use of detailed national data sets, countries are able to focus at a more granular level, mapping where new HIV infections occur and where people need services most.  

"The report demonstrates how countries can redistribute resources to improve access to HIV prevention and treatment services. With the Fast-Track approach and front-loaded investments, gaps are closed faster and resources go further and from 2020 annual resource needs will begin to fall," he concluded.

PANA learnt that the report highlighted how high-impact HIV prevention and treatment programmes, such as pre-exposure prophylaxis, voluntary medical male circumcision and sexual and reproductive health services, are being successfully implemented in various locations and for different populations.

This, it said, included adolescent girls and young women and their partners, pregnant women living with HIV, sex workers, transgender people, gay men and other men who have sex with men and people who inject drugs.

UNAIDS noted that examples of high-impact programmes are a nationwide mapping in Kenya has helped to reach more female sex workers with a comprehensive package of HIV services and reduce the number new HIV infections among sex workers.

It also said that most dramatic has been the reduction in the incidence of sexually-transmitted infections, from 27 per cent among people screened in 2013 to just 3 per cent in 2015.

"In Botswana, a policy change increased access to secondary school, and each additional year of secondary education was shown to reduce the cumulative risk of acquiring HIV by 8.1 percentage points," it said.

In the report, UNAIDS also identified 35 Fast-Track countries that account for 90 per cent of new HIV infections, and it focused on location and population and programmes that deliver the greatest impact will reap huge benefits by 2030: 21 million AIDS-related deaths averted, 28 million new HIV infections averted, and 5.9 million new infections among children averted.

The report further showed that areas with fewer numbers of people living with HIV and lower HIV prevalence are more likely to have discriminatory attitudes than areas that have more cases of HIV.

It added that "this seemingly contradictory result is explained by education and understanding about HIV usually being higher in countries where HIV is more prevalent and where more people are receiving treatment."

"However, these discriminatory attitudes make it more difficult for people in low-prevalence areas to come forward to seek HIV services for fear of stigma and reprisals," it concluded.
-0- PANA AA/VAO 24Nov2015

24 november 2015 14:46:30




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