UN: Fast-Track Strategy Can Defeat AIDS

UN: Fast-Track Strategy Can Defeat AIDSUN: Fast-Track Strategy Can Defeat AIDS

A report released by UNAIDS - ahead of World AIDS day on December 1 - gives over 50 examples from countries that have adopted the Fast-Track Strategy, which, if adopted by all nations, could end the AIDS epidemic.

It estimates there are now 15.8 million people with HIV receiving antiretroviral therapy, double the number from 5 years ago.

In 2010, 7.5 million people were receiving HIV treatment, compared with 2.2 million in 2005. Also, by the end of 2014, new HIV infections dropped to 35% below the peak reached in 2000, while AIDS-related deaths fell by 42% since the peak in 2004, reports Medical News Today.

Michel Sidibé, executive director of UNAIDS, says: “Every 5 years we have more than doubled the number of people on life-saving treatment. We need to do it just one more time to break the AIDS epidemic and keep it from rebounding.”

The Fast-Track approach with a focus on “location, population and programs,” will help attain specific targets for 2030, such as averting 21 million AIDS-related deaths, 28 million new HIV infections and 5.9 million new infections among children.

 90-90-90 Target

It will also be instrumental in attaining the UNAIDS 90-90-90 treatment target. This says that by 2020, 90% of people living with HIV should know their status, 90% of them should receive treatment and 90% of those on treatment should have suppressed viral loads (very low levels of HIV in the body).

But the challenge that remains is daunting. Of the estimated 36.9 million people with HIV, only 41% of adults and 32% of children are receiving treatment.

Also, in sub-Saharan Africa, where 70% of people live with HIV, an estimated 49% of adults do not know their HIV status, approximately 57% living with HIV are not receiving antiretroviral therapy and an estimated 68% are not virally suppressed.

The report emphasizes the importance of delivering services that are consistent with human rights and applies safeguards to ensure that reaching out to people living with HIV does no harm.

In some countries, progress in eliminating HIV/AIDS is hampered by “pervasive punitive laws and strongly held cultural values against key populations,” and reforming them “remains one of the single most important elements of efforts to increase access and uptake of HIV programs and services.”