World on track to reach the 90-90-90 targets for HIV treatment by 2020

By the year 2020, AIDS related deaths are set to decrease even more and effective treatment for HIV is increasingly on the rise. However, it was revealed during the AIDS Society Conference about HIV Science in Paris by UNAIDS that some regions are not getting access to the necessary treatment due to lack of commitment by politicians.

Around 53% of people in the world who have HIV are receiving treatment for the condition and it’s thought to be for this reason, that AIDS related deaths have dropped in half since the year 2005.

The target known as 90-90-90 which is endorsed by the government, wants 90% of HIV sufferers to know in-depth information about their personal situation and current status. The target also aims to have 90% of those with the illness to be under treatment and 90% of people to be virally suppressed. Deaths from AIDS will dramatically be reduced if these beneficial targets can be met and the likelihood of fresh infections will also be reduced.

Although the world is making progress, there is still a way to go towards these targets based on current statistics especially for certain countries. In 2016, of those living with HIV in the world, 70% knew their current status, 77% were getting treatment for the condition and quite an impressive 82% of people were virally suppressed. Some places that are doing particularly well and have reached the 90-90-90 target set by UNAIDS in quicker than expected timing are Cambodia and Botswana.

Even if lots of money is raised for HIV testing and treatment, political commitment is necessary in making the big difference that is needed. For the two regions that have had the least success in the targets, it is down to this matter rather than a lack of funding.

It should be noted that both Southern and Eastern Africa have made significant progress in reaching their targets, with 66% of suffers knowing their HIV status, 79% of those have the access to the treatment they need and 83% of people receiving that treatment have a level of the disease that is simply undetectable. In terms of Eastern and Southern Africa on the whole, this means that 50% with HIV are virally suppressed.

Some other places that have reached the 90-90-90 targets are The United Kingdom, Denmark, Sweden, Iceland and Singapore. Melbourne, Paris, Amsterdam and New York City have either reached the target or are incredibly close to doing so. Some places that are a little further beyond but still making positive progress towards the 90-90-90 targets are Belgium, France, The Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Spain, Luxembourg, Australia and Switzerland.

With regards to death from AIDS, the places that have had the largest reductions in recent years are Eastern and Southern Africa, which have had a 62% drop since 2004 alone. Since the same date, deaths have dropped 52% in the Caribbean, 48% in the Middle East, 39% in the Asia-Pacific region and 38% in Central Asia and Eastern Europe. All are impressive figures but the fight is always on to keep improving on this.

It is interesting that AIDS related deaths are 27% lower with females and this is said to be due to the fact they are easier to diagnose which results in quicker treatment. A really positive fact is that AIDS death in children have almost been cut in half since 2010 – going from 210,000 to 120,000.

Since the year 2010, the yearly number of new HIV infections being diagnosed has decreased 16% to just 1.8 million. Although this is progress, 500,000 is the target by 2020 so the number still has quite a way to drop.

The new HIV 2016 estimates are going to be more accurate claims UNAIDS due to more countries producing accurate data that can be relied on. The better the information is from around the world, the more likely the science will be accurate in the fight against AIDS. This is especially true in Eastern and Southern Africa. Population Health Impact Assessments help these estimates due to door-to-door surveys in many regions, which helps confirm that the figures are always improving.

In regards to the most progress, it’s seen that the countries that have made the most progress is due to the political commitment in reaching the 90-90-90 goals. Speakers at the Targets Workout, who are sponsored with UNAIDS, agree with this fact. The event, which is also sponsored by the International Association of Providers took place earlier in 2017 and was a big success.

Marijke Wijnrocks who is the Executive Director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria said that no matter how much funding, it doesn’t make up for the lack of political commitment for the fight against AIDS that is apparent in many regions where the epidemic is kept much more quiet than what it should be.

Central Asia and Eastern Europe have made the least amount of success in terms of the 90-90-90 targets. 63% of people in those locations know about their HIV status but sadly, only 43% are receiving effective treatment for the condition. For the people who are having treatment in these areas, 77% are virally suppressed which is significantly lower than other places in the world. It’s also been revealed that new infections are rising in Central Asia and Eastern Europe, despite an impressive 29% reduction in Eastern and Southern Africa in just 6 years.

In terms of Central and Western Africa, only 42% of people have been diagnosed despite many more than this going under the radar. From this number, 83% of these people are getting treatment and for 73%, the condition is virally suppressed. These facts are based on recent finding by UNAIDS.

The Global AIDS Coordinator, Dr. Debbie Birx has said that these particular areas in Africa have received high levels of funding but have sadly seen the least effective results – in terms of diagnosing people and giving them the treatment that they need. The reason for this she claims, is the fact there are so many fees for such medical attention, including formal and informal. She says that certain clinics charge fees for what they provide for free and making money should not be a priority for companies when it comes to getting rid of this deadly disease.

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