How to end AIDS by 2030, by UNAIDS
AHEAD of World AIDS Day 2015, the Joint United Agency for AIDS (UNAIDS), yesterday, released a new report showing that countries including Nigeria are getting on the fast track to end AIDS by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) even as over 15.8 million people are now accessing antiretroviral therapy, compared to 7.5 million people in 2010 and 2.2 million people in 2005.
According to the UNAIDS report, by adapting to a changing global environment and maximising innovations, countries are seeing greater efficiencies and better results.
It noted: “Progress in responding to HIV over the past 15 years has been extraordinary. By June 2015, UNAIDS estimates that 15.8 million people were accessing antiretroviral therapy, compared to 7.5 million people in 2010 and 2.2 million people in 2005.”
At the end of 2014, UNAIDS estimates that new HIV infections had fallen by 35 per cent since the peak in 2000 and AIDS-related deaths have fallen by 42 per cent since the 2004 peak.
Executive Director of UNAIDS, Michel Sidibé said: “Every five 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.”
In Nigeria, the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), on Tuesday, kicked off events to commemorate World AIDS Day 2015 with a call on all Nigerians and the country’s partners to renew their commitment to ending AIDS by 2030.
UNAIDS Country Director for Nigeria and UNAIDS Focal Point for Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Dr. Bilali Camara said: “At the end of 2015, I can say with clarity that Nigeria is among the countries which have halted the spread and reversed the trend of the HIV epidemic. There is no doubt that, with the fast-tracking approach being promoted, Nigeria will end AIDS by 2030.”
Director General of NACA, Prof. John Idoko, at a press conference yesterday said: “Nigeria’s AIDS response has gained a steady momentum in the past four years. We have managed to turn the tide. New infections have reduced by 35 per cent and we now need new commitment and support in order to end AIDS by 2030.”
Idoko said World AIDS Day 2015 in Nigeria will be commemorated under the theme “Getting to zero: Ending AIDS by 2030” to create awareness about HIV/AIDS, reduce stigma and discrimination against people living with or affected by HIV, and advocate for more private sector partnerships and support to the country’s response.
One of the highlights of this year’s national commemoration is the maiden edition of the NACA Annual Policy Lecture which will take place in Abuja to highlight the successes of the AIDS response in Nigeria as well as the significance of scaling-up domestic funding in order to end AIDS by 2030.
World AIDS Day is commemorated on December 1 each year to unite people around the HIV/AIDS response, show support for People Living with HIV, and remember people who have died of AIDS.
According to UNAIDS, the life-changing benefits of antiretroviral therapy mean that people living with HIV are living longer, healthier lives, which has contributed to an increase in the global number of people living with HIV. At the end of 2014, UNAIDS estimates that 36.9 million people were living with HIV. Once diagnosed, people need immediate access to antiretroviral therapy.
To end AIDS as a public health threat, an accelerated and more focused response is needed using better data to map and reach people in the places where the most new HIV infections occur. To support countries with this approach, UNAIDS has released a new report, ‘‘Focus on location and population: on the fast-track to end AIDS by 2030,’’ which gives examples of more than 50 communities, cities and countries that are using innovative approaches to reach more people with comprehensive HIV prevention and treatment services.
Through the responsible use of detailed national data sets, countries are able to focus at a more granular level, mapping where new HIV infections occur and where people need services most. The report demonstrates how countries can redistribute resources to improve access to HIV prevention and treatment services. With the fast-track approach and front-loaded investments, gaps are closed faster and resources go further and from 2020 annual resource needs will begin to fall.
The report highlights how high-impact HIV prevention and treatment programmes, such as pre-exposure prophylaxis, voluntary medical male circumcision and sexual and reproductive health services, are being successfully implemented in various locations and for different populations, including adolescent girls and young women and their partners, pregnant women living with HIV, sex workers, transgender people, gay men and other men who have sex with men and people who inject drugs.