Sunday, 17 January 2021

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Goal in anti-HIV battle met 9 months ahead of schedule

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14.7.2015 – Halting and reversing the spreading of HIV has been achieved and exceeded, according to a new report released by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS). The AIDS targets of MDG 6 has, in fact, been met 9 months ahead of schedule, and new HIV infections have fallen by 35% and AIDS-related deaths by 41%.

“The world has delivered on halting and reversing the AIDS epidemic”, said Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, stating that the next step should be ending the epidemic altogether.

The report demonstrates that the response to HIV has been one of the smartest investments in global health and development, generating measurable results for people and economies. It also shows that concerted action can end the AIDS epidemic by 2030.

Stopping new HIV infections among children has been one of the greatest successes in the AIDS response. Ensuring that pregnant women living with HIV had access to antiretroviral medicines to prevent their children from becoming infected became a top priority. Another remarkable success has been reversing the number of AIDS-related deaths with wide-spread antiretroviral therapy.

Advocacy, activism, science, political will and aid from pharmaceutical companies has brought the price of HIV medicines down by 99%, making the medication more available to people in poverty-stricken areas.

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There is an urgent need to scale up HIV testing, as only people who know they are living with the virus can receive treatment.

International assistance, especially for low-income countries, will be necessary before sustainable financing can be secured. However, this should not be seen as a cost but rather an investment in the future.

Countries that rapidly mounted robust responses to their epidemics saw impressive results. Such success stories include Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, Senegal, Thailand and South Africa.

Much progress has been made in expanding HIV prevention services for key populations such as sex workers and intravenous drug users. However, HIV infections are rising among homosexual men, indicating that new HIV prevention efforts are needed in this demographic.

Countries’ investment in data collection and monitoring has made HIV data comprehensive, enabling actions to be tailored to each country’s needs.

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