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UNAIDS: 17 Million People Waiting For HIV Treatment

Uganda AIDS Commission says only 980,954 out of 1.4 Million Ugandans living with HIV were on treatment by March 2017 in Uganda. It says in 2016 alone, 14,348 men died of AIDS compared to 9,600 women in the same year in Uganda.
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Although access to anti-retroviral treatment has more than doubled since 2010, the United Nations AIDS agency (UNAIDS) says 17 million people around the world are still waiting for treatment.

UNAIDS says making "My health, my right a reality for everyone, everywhere” remains a big priority for ending AIDS by 2030.

In a World AIDS Day statement, the agency says “We all must continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with the people being left behind and demand that no one is denied their human rights”.

UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé says gains made in reducing the number of HIV related deaths should not make the world get complacent in the fighting the virus which causes AIDS.

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Sidibe said it is important that no one is left behind. He notes that in Western and central Africa, two out of three people are not accessing treatment, adding that in eastern Europe and central Asia, new HIV infections have risen by 60% since 2010 and AIDS-related deaths by 27%.

According to Uganda AIDS Commission, approximately 151 people still get infected with HIV in Uganda daily. Of these, 67 (44.1 percent) are young people among whom HIV is a major cause of sickness and death. Over all, new infections have reduced from 135,000 in 2010 to approximately 60,000 by 2016 (40 percent among men and 60 percent among women).

The Commission says 1.4 million Ugandans are living with HIV with 1,041,000 enrolled under care. Of those under care, only 980,954 were on antiretroviral treatment by March 2017. 

In 2016 alone, 14,348 men died of AIDS compared to 9,600 women in the same year in Uganda. However, annual HIV related deaths have significantly reduced from 100,000 in 2004 to 28,000 in 2016.

In June this year, the Commission launched a five-point strategic plan to fast track initiative on ending threats of HIV and AIDS in Uganda by 2030. The plans include engaging men in HIV prevention through closing gaps on new infections particularly among adolescent girls and young women.

The other is to accelerate implementation of Test and Treat and attainment of the 90-90-90 targets particularly among men and young people. Third, consolidate progress on eliminating mother-to-child transmission of HIV. Fourth, Ensure financial sustainability for the HIV response and finally, ensure institutional effectiveness for a well-coordinated multi sectoral response.

According to the UNAIDS, 2017 has seen significant steps on the way to meeting the 90–90–90 treatment targets towards ending AIDS by 2030. “Nearly 21 million people living with HIV are now on treatment and new HIV infections and AIDS-related deaths are declining in many parts of the world. But we shouldn't be complacent” the statement reads in part.

Under the 90-90-90 strategy, the World leaders committed to ensuring that at least 90 percent of all HIV positive persons are identified through responsive HIV testing services by 2030. The others are identifying at least 90 percent of all HIV positive persons for immediate enrollment on Anti-retroviral therapy.

The last 90 means ensuring that at least 90 percent of all persons on HIV treatment adhere to treatment in order to attain and sustain viral suppression.  

UNAIDS is warning that the world will not achieve the Sustainable Development Goals—which include the target of ending AIDS by 2030—without people attaining their right to health. “The right to health is interrelated with a range of other rights, including the rights to sanitation, food, decent housing, healthy working conditions and a clean environment”.

According to Sidibe, “the right to health means many different things: that no one person has a greater right to health care than anyone else; that there is adequate health-care infrastructure; that health-care services are respectful and non-discriminatory; and that health care must be medically appropriate and of good quality. But the right to health is more than that—by attaining the right to health, people's dreams and promises can be fulfilled”.

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