Today, Friday, December 1 is the World AIDS Day. And the theme of this year’s celebration is: Right to health.
In 2015, global leaders signed up to the Sustainable Development Goals, with the aim to achieve universal health coverage by 2030. The UHC framework now lies at the centre of all health programmes.
To complement the global World AIDS Day 2017 campaign which promotes the theme “Right to health,” the World Health Organisation has stressed the need for all 36.7 million people living with HIV globally and those who are vulnerable and affected by the epidemic, to reach the goal of universal health coverage.
Under the slogan “Everybody counts”, WHO advocates access to safe, effective, quality and affordable medicines, including medicines, diagnostics and other health commodities, as well as health care services for all people in need, while also ensuring that they are protected against financial risks.
According to the WHO, the following are the key facts about HIV/AIDS:
* HIV continues to be a major global public health issue, having claimed more than 35 million lives so far. In 2016, 1.0 million people died from HIV-related causes globally.
* There were approximately 36.7 million people living with HIV at the end of 2016 with 1.8 million people becoming newly infected in 2016 globally.
* 54 per cent of adults and 43 per cent of children living with HIV are currently receiving lifelong antiretroviral therapy.
* Global ART coverage for pregnant and breastfeeding women living with HIV is high at 76 per cent.
* The WHO African Region is the most affected region, with 25.6 million people living with HIV in 2016. The African region also accounts for almost two thirds of the global total of new HIV infections.
* HIV infection is often diagnosed through rapid diagnostic tests, which detect the presence or absence of HIV antibodies. Most often these tests provide same-day test results, which are essential for same day diagnosis and early treatment and care.
* Key populations are groups who are at increased risk of HIV irrespective of epidemic type or local context. They include: men who have sex with men, people who inject drugs, people in prisons and other closed settings, sex workers and their clients, and transgender people.
* Key populations often have legal and social issues related to their behaviours that increase vulnerability to HIV and reduce access to testing and treatment programmes.
* In 2015, an estimated 44 per cent of new infections occurred among key populations and their partners.
* There is no cure for HIV infection. However, effective antiretroviral drugs can control the virus and help prevent transmission so that people with HIV, and those at substantial risk, can enjoy healthy, long and productive lives.
* It is estimated that currently only 70 per cent of people with HIV know their status. To reach the target of 90 per cent, an additional 7.5 million people need to access HIV testing services. In mid-2017, 20.9 million people living with HIV were receiving antiretroviral therapy globally.
* Between 2000 and 2016, new HIV infections fell by 39 per cent, and HIV-related deaths fell by one third with 13.1 million lives saved due to ART in the same period.
The Punch News