Thursday, 26 November 2020

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Europe moves to accelerate research on preventive vaccines as World marks AIDS Day

World AIDS Day, 1 December, Hands up for #HIVprevention

As World AIDS Day is marked around the globe on December 1, Europe has moved in 2016 to accelerate research on new therapeutic and preventive vaccines. More than €22 million was given by the European Commission to the European HIV Vaccination Alliance (EHVA) in January 2016.

However, much more needs to be done. So far, research has mostly been financed by funds coming from governments and US foundations. According to estimates from a 2016 UNAIDS report, $26.2 billion is necessary to combat AIDS by 2020 and $23.9 billion by 2030. Yet more financial efforts need to be made in order to eradicate the disease. 

The number of HIV positive people receiving antiviral treatments has doubled in five years, which translates into a 45% decrease of HIV-related deaths since 2005. Antiretroviral treatment has reached more than 18 million people in 2016 and has saved millions of lives and reduced the risk of new infections.

The UK is one of ten countries with the largest number of people receiving antiviral treatment for the first six months of 2016. Other countries in the top ten are France, Spain, Italy and Germany.

However, there are a lot of inequalities in the world. In West and Central Africa, only 28 % of people living with HIV have access to antiviral treatment.

According to Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, Executive Director of UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, “We cannot hope to end the AIDS epidemic when every day almost 6,000 people are infected with HIV. Progress on prevention has stagnated. Since 2010, the annual number of new infections among adults has remained unchanged. Through the Sustainable Development Goals, the international community committed to ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030. This target will be reached only with a concerted and strengthened focus on prevention.”

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