Big Drop In AIDS-Related Deaths But Uneven Progress On Ending Disease, UN Says

By David Branigan for Health Policy Watch

Member states of the United Nations highlighted progress on combatting AIDS at a 12 June meeting of the General Assembly, with AIDS-related deaths reduced “from 1.5 million in 2010 to 1 million in 2016,” according to a UN report citing UNAIDS data. But the report found progress toward eliminating the disease to be uneven, and provided recommendations to address gaps and challenges.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres presented his report, Leveraging the AIDS response for United Nations reform and global health [pdf], showing “that the exponential scale-up of antiretroviral therapy has now reached more than half of all people living with HIV,” and that there has been progress “in stopping new HIV infections among children,” according to a UNAIDS press release.

The report came as part of the assessment of “Implementation of the Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS and the political declarations on HIV/AIDS” at the halfway point to the target year 2030.

The Secretary-General also noted, however, that the progress made has been “uneven and fragile.”

On behalf of the African Group, Lazarus O. Amayo, permanent representative of Kenya to the United Nations, said, “A lot remains to be done as AIDS continues to disproportionately affect sub-Saharan Africa.”

The Secretary-General’s report calls for increased investment to fill the US $7 billion funding gap, and sets out recommendations to expand testing, safeguard human rights and promote gender equality, using the HIV Prevention 2020 Road Map.

The summary states: “The present report sets out five recommendations: (a) mobilize an HIV testing revolution and achieve the 90–90–90 targets; (b) accelerate efforts to end tuberculosis and other co-infections and co-morbidities; (c) use the HIV prevention road map to accelerate reductions in new infections; (d) safeguard human rights and promote gender equality through people-centred service delivery models and supportive legal and policy frameworks; and (e) leverage the joint programme of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and the H6 partnership as global health accelerators and incubators for United Nations reform.”

And it concludes, “AIDS is not over, but it can be.”


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