New Global Fund Results Show Accelerated HIV Treatment Progress

Prudence Mabele has died at the age of 46. AGENCIES

For the first time in the global AIDS epidemic that has spanned four decades and killed 35 million people, more than half of all those infected with HIV are on drugs to treat the virus, the United Nations said in a report released Thursday.

Yet, despite infection rates improving, UNAids warns that poor treatment in north Africa, the Middle East, Asia and eastern Europe has caused death rates to increase in these regions.

These treatments are costly and have side effects, but they have revolutionized the health status of people living with hiv and lengthened their life expectancy.

"In 2016, 19.5 million of the 36.7 million people living with HIV had access to treatment", the UNAIDS report said. The number of new smear-positive TB cases detected and treated increased from 15.1 to 17.4 million, an increase of 15 percent, and the number of people treated for multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) increased by 40 percent, from 267,000 to 373,000.

Eastern and Southern Africa are the most affected regions and account for more than half of all people living with HIV/Aids, but both regions have made progress.

Ending Aids found that providing services closer to where people live and work will be a key factor in ending the Aids epidemic and as a result UNAids and the AU are backing an initiative which will recruit and train 2 million community health workers in Africa.

A new UNAIDS report has revealed that for the first time, more than half of people living with HIV around the world are taking treatment.

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There was little change in the number of new HIV infections among children (aged 0-14) in the region between 2010 and 2016. Since 2010, there has been a dip in AIDS-related deaths by 42% and new infection cases by 29%, including 56% decline in new infection in children over that period.

However, greater scale-up of evidence-based prevention and more domestic resources for prevention, including needle, syringes and condoms, are needed to achieve the national targets on HIV prevention.

Northern Africa and the Middle East are two additional problem areas.

In the Caribbean, 64 per cent of PLWA know their status, 81 per cent who know their status access treatment, and 67 per cent of people on treatment achieve viral suppression.

This was partly due to more and more HIV-infected pregnant women-76 percent in 2016-having access to drugs blocking virus transmission to their offspring.

This incredible progress is due to the global partnership and commitment of governments, civil society groups, health workers and local and worldwide organizations, along with support from major donors and organizations including the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), UNAIDS and WHO.

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