HIV death rates drop in 2016, United Nations report reveals

Francis Osborne
July 22, 2017

More than 40% of the roughly 1.1 million people living with HIV in the United States now receive care through Medicaid, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. The AIDS-related deaths have reduced to half since 2005.

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.

Exceptions within these regions show that "when concerted efforts are made, results happen", the report said, noting that in Algeria, Morocco and Belarus have all significantly increased HIV treatment access rates.

According to the data from the government's five-year National Strategic Plan on HIV and AIDS for 2016-2020, HIV prevalence among key populations - people who inject drugs, men who have sex with men, and sex workers - is high, at 28.5 percent, 11.6 percent and 14.6 percent, respectively.

"As we bring the epidemic under control, health outcomes are improving and nations are becoming stronger", Michel Sidibe, UNAIDS executive director said.

Oussama Tawil, the new country director of UNAIDS Myanmar, said that "a massive scale-up in HIV treatment" and a "decentralization of services" to prevent HIV, even in remote areas through government-run clinics, contributed to a large decline in AIDS-related deaths in the country. It did not specify a time period. The total annual number of new HIV infections in Asia and Pacific region has fallen by 13% over the last six years, from 310,000 in 2010 to 270,000 in 2016.

Joint United Nations Programme on HIV  AIDS
Joint United Nations Programme on HIV AIDS

The wider availability of antiretroviral (ARV) treatment has led to almost one third reduction in AIDS-related deaths since 2010 in the region. The report includes more than one detailed analysis of the progress and challenges to achieve the '90-90-90 Targets, ' which establish that 90 percent of the HIV people know their serologic situation, receive continual antiretroviral therapy and have the possibility to access viral suppression.

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.

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

In a new report, the World Health Organization (WHO) warns that resistance to the drugs used to treat HIV is on the rise. Out of those who knew their HIV status, only 52% were taking ART therapy and 83% of same are virally suppressed.

UNAIDS also said that globally there has been significant progress, but "there is still more work to do".

The report also points out that only 43% of children infected with HIV have access to antiretrovirals, compared with 54% of adults.

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