16% decline in HIV cases since 2010: UNAIDS


While an additional two million people are reported to be on antiretroviral therapy (ART), more needs to be done by all to confront the killer infections driving AIDS death such as tuberculosis and cryptococcal meningitis.

South Africa was chosen out of 193 United Nations member states to host the release of the report. Six months to this deadline, this target is far from being achieved.

Responding to the 2019 Global Report on HIV Report, launched today in Eshowe, KwaZulu Natal by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS), MSF calls on governments, ministries of health, partners and worldwide organizations to step up efforts towards reducing the mortality of people living with HIV.

Aids-related deaths have continued to decline - down by 33% since 2010 to 770,000 in 2018 - as access to treatment grows and progress is made on delivering HIV/tuberculosis services.

According to the report, key populations and their sexual partners now account for more than half (54 per cent) of new HIV infections globally.

"If the world is to be on track to end AIDS by 2030, there must be adequate and predictable financing for development", said Gunilla Carlsson, the UNAIDS Executive Director, a.i.

HIV cannot be cured but the infection can be kept in check by AIDS drugs known as antiretrovial treatment. In Eastern Europe and Central Asia, 72% of people living with HIV knew about their HIV status in 2018, but only 53% of them had access to treatment. "This starts with investing adequately and smartly and by looking at what's making some countries so successful", Carlsson said.

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"This means that while we are seeing positive and welcome progress in some places, which we should definitely celebrate, in other places marginalised and criminalised populations continue to be left behind and progress is either stalling or reversing".

Around 23.3 million of the 37.9 million people with HIV worldwide now get the AIDS drugs they need.

The report notes that while AIDS-related deaths have declined overall this decade, both the Middle East and North Africa have seen an uptick in deaths since 2010.

The UNAIDS 90-90-90 target refers to their goal of ensuring that 90% of all HIV positive persons are diagnosed, that 90% of those diagnosed receive anti-retroviral treatment and that 90% of those who receive treatment achieve viral suppression by 2020. "Preventing, detecting and treating advanced HIV and AIDS, demands more attention and funding, especially in low coverage settings such as West and Central Africa, and in neglected populations.", adds Dr. Van Cutsem.

These countries and communities must urgently get the necessary resources and support to apply the community approaches of HIV testing and treatment, like in Eshowe.

The 90-90-90 targets are an important indicator of the success of a country's HIV response.