Some progress has been made in treating HIV/Aids across the world. The World Health Organisation (WHO) reported that 20.9 million people around the world are on HIV/Aids treatment today. Here is an overview of the HIV/Aids epidemic:
HIV/Aids is still a human rights issue
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General released a statement saying that since the very beginning of the epidemic, the HIV response has been centered on human rights, equity and communities, the very foundations upon which universal health coverage has been built. He has outlined that as the HIV epidemic evolved over the years, it is the vulnerable, marginalized communities and individuals that have been disproportionately affected.
He also said that meaningful involvement with communities mostly affected was good health practice and that the HIV response played a large role in transforming the public health system.
More people are receiving treatment today for HIV/Aids
Today almost 21 million people are receiving antiretroviral therapy that is enabling them to live full and productive lives. That makes up 53% of people infected with HIV. Every day, fewer people are becoming infected with HIV and fewer people are dying. But these successes are masking the many disparities and challenges that persist.
Marginalised communities are still left behind in the fight against HIV/Aids
Young women, people of colour, adolescents, migrants, displaced persons, homosexual men, transgendered people, people who inject drugs and prisoners represented 40% of new HIV infections in 2016.
Europe’s HIV/Aids rate is growing at an alarming rate
WHO has reported that in 2016, 160,000 people contracted the virus that causes Aids in the 53 countries that make up the organisation’s European region. This is the highest rate of infection since records began. About 80% of these infections come from Eastern Europe. WHO’s European regional director, Zsuzsanna Jakab said this was disturbing because a lot of patients tested had already been living for several years with the virus that causes Aids. In the eastern part of the WHO European region, one in three people are unaware of their HIV status. In the rest of the Region, the figure stands at one in seven.
White House omits LGBT, people of colour in its Aids Day statement
The White House has excluded LGBT people and people of colour from its World AIDS Day proclamation. Unlike Obama’s statement when he was president, President Donald Trump did not mention the communities affected by HIV the most. He instead took a general approach in a letter saying: “On this day, we pray for all those living with HIV, and those who have lost loved ones to AIDS.” The letter lists a general review of statistics and the work of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. It concluded with a call from Trump “to remember those who have lost their lives to AIDS and to provide support and compassion to those living with HIV.” There was no mention of PrEP (Pre-exposure prophylaxis) as a strategy going forward and he merely mentioned he would invest in “testing initiatives”.
New high-quality antiretroviral therapy to be launched in South Africa, Kenya
After a breakthrough pricing agreement, it has been announced that the first affordable, generic, single-pill HIV treatment regimen containing dolutegravi will be launched in South Africa and Kenya. The agreement is expected to accelerate treatment rollout as part of global efforts to reach all 36.7 million people living with HIV with high-quality antiretroviral therapy.
Brazil begins PrEP roll-out on World AIDS Day
Brazil’s Ministry of Health will start provision of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV prevention in key higher-risk population groups through 35 sites across the country, beginning on World AIDS Day, 1 December 2017. The Ministry has estimated that in the first year, 9 000 men who have sex with men (MSM), sex workers and transgender people will be offered PrEP through Sistema Único de Saúde (SUS), Brazil’s national health service.