The Joint United Nations Program on HIV / AIDS (UNAIDS) said that as many as 1.8 million people are newly infected with HIV, warning that HIV infections continue to rise.
UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé at the International AIDS Conference in the Netherlands called on countries to strengthen prevention measures and continue to facilitate access to treatment, according to the statement of the World Health Organization. UNAIDS.
Sidibé said: “UNAIDS urges countries to take bold steps to address the HIV prevention crisis.
“In 2017, about 1.8 million people became infected with HIV, and some 50 countries experienced an increase in new HIV infections, as HIV prevention services were not provided on a sufficient scale or with a high level of HIV infection. sufficient intensity.
“Health is a human rights imperative and we are deeply concerned about the lack of political commitment and the inability to invest in proven HIV programs, especially for young people and key populations.
“If countries think they can get out of their epidemics, they are mistaken dangerously.”
According to a new UNAIDS report, 47% of new HIV infections affect key vulnerable populations, such as sex workers and people who inject drugs.
He added that a combination of HIV prevention approaches could alleviate this problem, such as harm reduction, pre-exposure prophylaxis, improved social care and condoms, many countries refusing to invest in culturally or religiously inappropriate approaches.
The head of UNAIDS added: “In 2017, around 6,500 women and girls were infected with HIV each week.
“Limited access to education, lack of economic autonomy and lack of decision-making power, including on their own health, expose them to domestic violence, limit their ability to have safe sex and limit and reproductive health services, making them more vulnerable to HIV infection. “
Sidibé said that in some southern African countries, for example, where HIV prevalence can reach 70% among sex workers, it has been reported that condoms are often confiscated by police.
“If countries do not offer comprehensive sex education, condoms, risk reduction or pre-exposure prophylaxis for key populations, this will result in new HIV infections, future treatment costs” Sidibé said. warned.
According to UNAIDS, women and youth need targeted approaches because they are often more vulnerable and, therefore, more exposed to the risk of exposure.
The UN agency said most countries have significantly scaled up their HIV treatment programs, with some reaching up to 80% of people living with HIV on antiretroviral therapy.
However, many are not diagnosed and treated quickly enough, allowing transmissions to occur before the start of treatment or if treatment is interrupted, lamented the UN agency.