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Nearly 21 Million People Living With HIV Now On Treatment :: Uganda Radionetwork
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Nearly 21 Million People Living With HIV Now On Treatment

A report; Right to health, released ahead of World AIDS Day, shows that access to treatment has risen significantly from a miserable 685,000 people in 2000 to 20.9 million people living with HIV by June 2017.
UNAIDS Chief Michel Sidibe at the Launch of the Right to Health Report on Monday
Remarkable progress is being made on HIV treatment with the enrollment of nearly 21 million people to the life-saving anti-retroviral medicines, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) has said.

A report; Right to health, released ahead of World AIDS Day, shows that access to treatment has risen significantly from a miserable 685,000 people in 2000 to 20.9 million people living with HIV by June 2017.

“Many people do not remember that in 2000 there were only 90 people in South Africa on treatment. Today, South Africa has the biggest life-saving treatment programme in the world, with more than 4 million people on treatment. This is the kind of acceleration we need to encourage, sustain and replicate, UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé said.

He added that such a dramatic scale-up could not have happened without the courage and determination of people living with HIV demanding and claiming their rights, backed up by steady, strong leadership and financial commitment.

The report indicates that the rise in the number of people on treatment is keeping more people living with HIV alive and well. Scientific research has also shown that a person living with HIV who is adhering to an effective regime of antiretroviral therapy is up to 97 percent less likely to transmit HIV.

As treatment access has been scaled up for pregnant women living with HIV, new HIV infections among children have been rapidly reduced. From 2010 to 2016, new HIV infections among children were reduced by 56 percent in eastern and southern Africa, the region most affected by HIV, and by 47 percent globally.

The challenges now are to ensure that the 17.1 million people in need of treatment, including 1.2 million children, can access the medicines and to put HIV prevention back at the top of public health programming, particularly in the countries in which new HIV infections are rising.

The report highlights that the people most marginalized in society and most affected by HIV are still facing major challenges in accessing the health and social services they urgently need. However, the report also gives innovative examples of how marginalized communities are responding.

In Uganda, for example, groups of grandmothers are weaving and selling traditional baskets to allow them to pay for schooling for the grandchildren in their care who lost their parents to AIDS. In India a collective of sex workers has trained sex workers to work as nursing assistants, providing stigma-free health services to sex workers and the wider community.

In 2016, around 1.8 million people were newly infected with HIV, a 39 percent decrease from the 3 million who became newly infected at the peak of the epidemic in the late 1990s. In sub-Saharan Africa, new HIV infections have fallen by 48 percent since 2000.

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