SA shines in HIV war as 17 million access treatment globally

2016-05-31 14:39

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Blantyre - An estimated 17 million people were accessing life-saving antiretroviral medicines at the end of 2015,  as 1.9 million people are still infected with HIV every year, a report has said.

With 3.4 million people in South Africa on HIV treatment the country has been commended for doing exceptionally well in the fight against HIV and Aids in Africa.

A new report released on May 31 by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/Aids (Unaids)  titled “Global Aids Update 2016”, shows that the scale-up of antiretroviral treatment since 2010 by most affected countries has reduced Aids-related deaths from 1.5 million in 2010  to 1.1 million in 2015.

The development comes as many countries have adopted new guidelines from the World Health Organisation to treat everyone diagnosed with HIV regardless of the viral load or disease advancement.

Full potential

“The full potential of antiretroviral therapy is being realised,” said Unaids Executive Director Michel Sidibé adding: “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.”

According to the report, global coverage of antiretroviral therapy reached 46% at the end of 2015 with huge gains made in eastern and southern Africa, where coverage increased from 24% in 2010 to 54% in 2015, reaching a total of 10.3 million people.

The report says South Africa has done exceptionally well by putting 3.4 million people on treatment followed by Kenya with nearly 900 000.

Botswana, Eritrea, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, South Africa, Swaziland, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe are among some Sub Saharan countries that have increased treatment coverage by more than 25 percentage points between 2010 and 2015.

The report was launched in Nairobi, Kenya, one of the countries showing the most remarkable progress in expanding access to antiretroviral medicines and reducing the number of new HIV infections.


"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,” said Cleopa Mailu, Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Health. “We must catalyse investments across different sectors, with a focus on cost-effective and socially inclusive programmes, if we are to succeed.”     

The Unaids Fast-Track approach, which is aimed at achieving 90–90–90 treatment target by 2020, is proving a success.

The approach entails letting 90% of people living with HIV know their status, providing access to treatment to 90% of people who know their HIV-positive status and 90% of people on treatment having their viral loads suppressed.

Unaids wants such a target achieved by 2020 so that the world can end the Aids epidemic by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals.

“We need a people-centred response to the Aids epidemic that removes all obstacles in the path of people’s access to HIV prevention and treatment services,” said Sidibé.  
Read more on:    south africa  |  southern africa  |  hiv  |  health

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