Posted by News Express | 19 July 2018 | 1,074 times
The United Nations HIV/AIDS agency (UNAIDS) Executive Director Michel Sidibe disclosed yesterday that Nigeria accounts for about half of all new infections in West Africa.
Sidibe spoke during the presentation of the agency’s report for 2017. His words: “Some countries continue to concern us, such as Nigeria which accounts for about half of all new infections in West Africa.” The report said almost three in five people infected with HIV, or 21.7 million globally, took antiretroviral therapy in 2017, a new record for anti-AIDS drug access, the UN’s HIV/AIDS agency said.
There were 36.9 million people living with the immune system-attacking virus in 2017, of whom 15.2 million were not getting the drugs they need, the lowest number since the epidemic exploded, UNAIDS reported.
Hailing progress in curbing new infections and deaths, the agency nevertheless lamented the mounting human toll: almost 80 million infections and 35.4 million lives lost since the first cases became known in the early 1980s.
Progress made to date risks being halted, even reversed, if funding and world attention are allowed to dwindle, the agency warned. “We are short $7 billion (six billion euros) per year to maintain our results and to achieve our objectives for 2020,” Sidibe told AFP. UNAIDS reported large variation between world regions in the battle against the killer virus.
In the Middle East and North Africa, for example, less than a third of people with HIV have access to ARV, only 36 percent of those in eastern Europe and central Asia, and 40 percent in west and central Africa. For west and central Europe and North America, the number is 78 percent, with about 1.7 million out of 2.2 million infected people on ARV, said UNAIDS.
In east and southern Africa, home to 53 percent of people living with HIV in the world, deaths declined by 42 percent from 2010 to 2017, thanks largely to the widespread rollout of treatment.
Assessing progress towards the target, UNAIDS said 1.8 million people became newly infected with HIV in 2017.
About 180,000 minors were newly infected with HIV in 2017, and about 110,000 died of AIDS, yet more than 50 percent of under-15s had no access to treatment. “This is unacceptable,” said Sidibe, who warned of creeping apathy and “complacency” in the fight against AIDS. “We can win, but we haven’t won yet,” he said of the global battle.
•Excerpted from Daily Sun
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