MUCH STILL NEEDS TO BE DONE TO MATCH OUR AMBITIONS!
November 26, 2015
As we highlight the 28th World AIDS Day, the international community continues to work towards achieving the aim of UNAIDS’ strategy, « Objective zero: Zero new HIV infections, Zero discrimination, Zero AIDS-related deaths”. As 2016 dawns, the portrait of the battle against AIDS/HIV is full of hope.
We are seeing a net decline of the epidemic: the number of new cases has been falling for about 15 years and, over the past 10 years, so has the number of AIDS-related deaths.
These results are attributable to a large extent on improved access to treatment. Additionally, anti-retroviral therapy, which today has fewer side effects, is now synonymous with better health and a closer-to-normal life expectancy for people living with HIV. Moreover, when used correctly, treatment reduces the viral load until it becomes undetectable, which can reduce the risk of HIV transmission by 90%. Thus, the progress registered in treatment and prevention, as well as in human rights, opens up real prospects.
However, ending the epidemic by 2030 , as per the objectives of UNAIDS, will still require a great deal of work, mainly with regard to making testing more accessible, enabling the 22 million untested persons living with HIV to be treated, and sustaining and intensifying prevention efforts. This is because a number of challenges still need to be overcome. These include the cost of medicines, which is still too high, taboos linked to HIV and the resulting stigmatisation and discrimination, socio-economic inequalities, the criminalization of homosexuality, which persist in certain countries, and the criminalization of people living with HIV.