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HIV spread halted as 15 mln on ARVs

15 July 2015, 11:42

Nairobi - The world has achieved the goal of halting and reversing the spread of HIV as new infections and AIDS-related deaths have dropped significantly over the past 15 years and now 15 million people, 40 percent of the people living with HIV/AIDS have access to life-saving anti-retroviral treatment, a UN report showed Tuesday.

The report released by the UNAIDS, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, Tuesday.

According to the report "How AIDS changed everything", released on the sidelines of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development at Addis Ababa, between 2000 and 2014, new HIV infections dropped from 3.1 million to 2 million, a reduction of 35 percent and AIDS-related deaths also dropped by 41 percent.

"Had the world stood back to watch the epidemic unfold, the annual number of new HIV infections is likely to have risen to around 6 million by 2014," it said.

In 2014, the report showed that 83 countries, which account for 83 percent of all people living with HIV, have halted or reversed their epidemics, including countries with major epidemics, such as India, Kenya, Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe.

The expanded coverage of access to anti-retroviral drugs, which lowers the chances of virus transmission and lengthens the life expectancy of people living with HIV/AIDS, is hailed as a major step towards ending the epidemic by 2030.

In 2014, 40 percent of all people living with HIV had access to anti-retroviral therapy, a 22-fold increase over the past 14 years. In sub-Saharan Africa, 10.7 million people had access.

Read Also: Vitamin D supplementation may slow HIV progression

"Ensuring treatment for 15 million people around the world proves beyond a doubt that treatment can be scaled up even in resource-poor settings," the report said.

"Fifteen years ago there was a conspiracy of silence. AIDS was a disease of the 'others' and treatment was for the rich and not for the poor," said Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS. "We proved them wrong, and today we have 15 million people on treatment -- 15 million success stories."

He said he was optimistic with the current momentum, the world can make it that by 2030 the HIV is no longer a public health threat even someone is living with HIV, it is not going to affect his health and life expectancy.

According to the report, life expectancy of a person living with HIV/AIDS has risen from 36 in 2001 to 55 in 2014.

"As access to treatment increased, the world raised the bar and has repeatedly set ambitious targets, culminating in today's call of ensuring access to treatment for all 36.9 million people living with HIV," the report said.

"The world is on track to meet the investment target of 22 billion U.S. dollars for the AIDS response by 2015 and that concerted action over the next five years can end the AIDS epidemic by 2030.

"Together, we have changed the world," said UN Secretary- General Ban Ki-moon at the release of the report. "And it means we are on our way to an AIDS-free generation."

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- Xinhua


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