Bold actions must to end AIDS by 2030: World Health Organisation
WORLD AIDS DAY
Kathmandu, November 30
World Health Organisation today said that bold actions would be required to achieve the target of ending AIDS by 2030, with the health sector playing a central role.
Issuing a press statement here today, Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, WHO Regional Director for Southeast Asia said that countries need to prioritise HIV interventions to get the highest impact, which included using newer approaches for testing such as community-based HIV testing, ensuring that all HIV positive people were started on treatment and those identified negative, especially those at risk had access to HIV prevention and re-testing services.
The statement said the world has halted and reversed the spread of HIV and since the year 2000, new infections have fallen by 35 per cent and AIDS-related deaths by 24 per cent. Close to 16 million people are now receiving anti-retroviral treatment (ART).
In WHO Southeast Asia region, new infections declined by 32 per cent between 2000 and 2014 and almost 1.3 million people are on ART.
“However, gaps remain,” reads the statement adding, “More than half of the people with HIV are unaware of their status. Those who test, do so late when they have symptoms and their immune systems are already compromised,”
It further said that only 36 per cent of people living with HIV in the region are on treatment; and fewer than 30 per cent of people with HIV are able to get to the last point when HIV virus multiplication in their body is suppressed, which is essential to prevent further transmission.
The new Sustainable Development Agenda includes the target of ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030 by reducing the number of new infections by an additional 25 per cent by 2020; ensuring that 90 per cent of people living with HIV are aware of their infection and 90 per cent of them are on ART, and 90 per cent of those on ART have no detectable virus in their blood.
It also stressed the need to increase investment to end AIDS, stating that efforts over the next five years would decide whether we will end AIDS by 2030 or face its resurgence.
“We need to ensure that HIV response is firmly positioned in the development and health agenda of the SDGs and community responses are not only sustained, but further scaled up and fully funded,” Dr Singh said in the statement adding, “Stigma, discrimination and punitive laws still hamper access to key services for those most in need.
Thus, we need to reaffirm and renew our resolve to work towards realising our goal of ending AIDS in the WHO South-East Asia Region by 2030.”
According to the National Centre for AIDS and STD Control, at least 39,249 people are estimated to be living with HIV in Nepal. Of them, 1,968 are children (0-14 years), 28,869 are adults (15-49 years) and 8,412 are persons are above the age of 50.