For 1st time, over half of people with HIV taking AIDS drugs

Posted July 22, 2017

More than half of those living with HIV have access to treatment, while AIDS-related deaths have nearly halved in the past 10 years in the world, a new report has stated.

But in MENA and eastern Europe and central Asia, AIDS-related deaths have risen by 48 percent and 38 percent respectively, it said, mostly due to HIV-positive patients not getting access to treatment.

In Việt Nam, half of the people living with HIV were under treatment in 2016, and the estimated number of AIDS-related deaths was the lowest since 2004.

Deaths linked to Aids have halved in a decade, official figures shows. UNAIDS said how the region is progressing to the 2020 target of having 90 per cent of PLWA knowing their status, 90 per cent of diagnosed people accessing treatment and 90 per cent of those treated achieving viral suppression (90-90-90).

As yet, there is no HIV vaccine or cure, and infected people rely on lifelong anti-retroviral therapy to stop the virus replicating.

"The number of aids-related deaths fell from 1.9 million in 2005 to 1 million in 2016", says the Unaids programme coordination of the united nations against aids, in its annual report on the epidemic. This has increased the life expectancy in numerous worst affected regions such as eastern and southern Africa.

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The wider availability of antiretroviral (ARV) treatment has led to almost one third reduction in AIDS-related deaths since 2010 in the region.

Since its 2003 launch by former President George W. Bush, PEPFAR has provided HIV treatment to approximately 11.5 million people worldwide. "If the dynamics of transmission are better understood and more people are put on antiretroviral therapy to treat HIV, India can bring down infection much faster", said Dr Bilali Camara, UNAIDS Country Director for India. Around 30% of people living with HIV still do not know their HIV status, 17.1 million people living with HIV do not have access to antiretroviral therapy and more than half of all people living with HIV are not virally suppressed.

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.

The UN hailed the result as a huge achievement for a country that had one of the fastest-growing AIDS epidemics in the region 20 years ago.

East and Southern Africa, Western and Central Europe, North America, and Latin America are all on track to reach the 90-90-90 targets by 2020.

"Cambodia is to be congratulated for reaching this global target three years before the world's deadline", said Vladanka Andreeva, UNAIDS Cambodia country director. In collaboration with Unitaid and World Health Organization, the Global Fund is supporting the expansion of HIV self-test kits - flexible options that help address the challenge of nearly half of the people with HIV not knowing their status.