The global community wants to defeat HIV by 2030, but this goal seems difficult to achieve at the moment. Even before the Corona crisis, many countries were not on the home stretch.
The world community has failed to set its own goals in the fight against HIV and AIDS. Last year, an estimated 1.7 million people worldwide contracted the virus.
This is reported by the United Nations Program for HIV / AIDS (UNAIDS) at the start of the virtual world AIDS conference. Due to new programs, initiatives and investments, it should actually only be 500,000 people a year. The epidemic should be overcome by 2030.
“The coronavirus pandemic threatens to take us even further off course,” said UNAIDS executive director Winnie Byanyima in Geneva. Growing poverty as a result of the standstill of the economy leads to increased domestic violence and endangers girls and young women in particular. It drives people into precarious situations where the risk of HIV infection increases.
Some of the infected people could not go to doctors, the report says. The condom and drug production is also restricted. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 73 countries are already running the risk of running out of HIV medication. 24 countries have already reported major replenishment problems or almost empty warehouses. In these 24 countries live a third of the people who receive the important antiretroviral therapy.
Interrupting treatment with antiretroviral therapy for only 20 percent of those infected with HIV for six months would result in an additional 110,000 deaths, according to UNAIDS. Eric Goemaere of the aid organization Doctors Without Borders in South Africa described this as unacceptable: “Because of the Covid 19 pandemic, we cannot withdraw from the HIV / AIDS epidemic.” Covid-19 is the disease that can trigger the coronavirus.
There has been progress, but they are unevenly distributed, said Byanyima. In Eastern Europe, Central Asia and Latin America as well as in the Middle East and North Africa, the development is not good. Nevertheless, she believes that the goal of ending the epidemic by 2030 can still be achieved with new efforts. A shining example is the small kingdom eSwatini (formerly: Swaziland) in southern Africa. The country, with around one million inhabitants, reduced the number of new infections from 13,000 in 2010 to 6,500 in 2019, as Prime Minister Ambrose Dlamini said.
Progress also includes that in 2019 three times as many people were treated with antiretroviral therapy as in 2010, the report said. At the end of last year, this was 25.4 million of the estimated 38 million people infected with HIV worldwide. 690,000 people died as a result of their infection in 2019, 39 percent fewer than in 2010 – but significantly more than had been targeted for 2020: only 500,000 people are expected to die this year. The number of new infections, 1.7 million, was 2019 as low as it has not been since 1989.
Still, that’s not enough. “The world has invested too little, given too little people access to treatment, and has failed to flatten the curves of new HIV infections and AIDS-related deaths significantly,” the report said. In 2019, only a good two thirds of the funds would have been available for information and treatment. “This collective failure (…) has a high price: Between 2015 and 2020 there were 3.5 million more infections and 820,000 more deaths related to AIDS than would have been the case if the world had been on schedule, to meet the 2020 targets. »
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