New York – The Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), said on Thursday that an estimated 17 million people were accessing life saving anti-retroviral treatment.
A statement from UNAIDA said that the number of people who received the medicines at the end of 2015 was 17 million with an additional 2 million people gaining access over a 12-month period.
The report entitled “Global AIDS Update 2016″, which was released as world leaders prepare to attend the UN General Assembly meeting on Ending AIDS, in New York from June 8-10.
According to the report, stated that the extraordinary scale-up of anti-retroviral treatment since 2010 by many of the world’s most affected countries has reduced AIDS-related deaths from 1.5 million in 2010 to 1.1 million in 2015.”
Michel Sidibe, UNAIDS Executive Director, said that as more countries adopt new guidelines from the WHO to treat everyone diagnosed with HIV.
“The full potential of anti-retroviral therapy is being realised.
“I urge all countries to seize this unprecedented opportunity to put HIV prevention and treatment programmes on the Fast-Track and end the AIDS epidemic by 2030,”Sidibe said.
He noted that global coverage of anti-retroviral therapy reached 46 per cent at the end of 2015, and gains were greatest in the world’s most affected region, eastern and southern Africa.
“These are where coverage increased from 24 per cent in 2010 to 54 per cent in 2015, reaching a total of 10.3 million people.
“In South Africa, 3.4 million people had access to treatment, followed by Kenya with nearly 900,000.
“Botswana, Eritrea, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, South Africa, Swaziland, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe all increased treatment coverage by more than 25 percentage points between 2010 and 2015,”he said.
The statement said the report was launched in Nairobi, Kenya, one of the countries showing the most remarkable progress in expanding access to anti-retroviral medicines and reducing the number of new HIV infections.
Mr Cleopa Mailu, Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Health, said that the Kenyan government, in partnership with UNAIDS and other development partners, is committed to the Fast-Track approach to ending AIDS as a public health threat by 2030.”
“We must catalyse investments across different sectors, with a focus on cost-effective and socially inclusive programmes, if we are to succeed,”he said.
The statement also disclosed that UNAIDS Fast-Track approach to treatment is proven to work in countries adopting it.
It noted that the momentum must continue to achieve the UNAIDS 90-90-90 treatment target by 2020.
It said that 90 per cent of people living with HIV know their status, 90 per cent of people who know their HIV positive status are accessing treatment and 90 per cent of people on treatment have suppressed viral loads.
It added that reaching the 2020 treatment target will set the world on course to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The report showed that declines in new HIV infections among adults have slowed alarmingly in recent years, with the estimated annual number of new infections among adults remaining nearly static at about 1.9 million.
The UN agency said the global figure masks striking regional disparities that must be addressed to achieve the reductions required to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030.
It said the largest reduction in new adult infections occurred in eastern and southern Africa, while there were about 40,000 fewer adult HIV infections in the region in 2015 than in 2010, a 4 per cent decline.
“More gradual declines were achieved in the Asia and Pacific region and western and central Africa, and rates of new adult HIV infections were relatively stable in Latin America and the Caribbean, western and central Europe, North America, the Middle East and North Africa.
“However, the annual number of new HIV infections in Eastern Europe and central Asia increased by 57 per cent,” it said. (PANA/NAN)