United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) has urged all partners to step up action and invest in the response by fully funding the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria with at least US$14 billion at its replenishment in October and through increasing bilateral and domestic funding for HIV.
The pace of progress in reducing new HIV infections, increased access to treatment and ending AIDS-related deaths is slowing down according to a new report released by UNAIDS.
UNAIDS’ Global AIDS Update, Communities at the center, shows a mixed picture, with some countries making impressive gains while others are experiencing rises in new HIV infections and AIDS-related deaths.
The report shows that key populations and their sexual partners now account for more than half (54%) of new HIV infections globally. In 2018, key populations including people who inject drugs, gay men and other men who have sex with men, transgender people, sex workers and prisoners accounted for around 95% of new HIV infections in eastern Europe and central Asia and in the Middle East and North Africa.
However, the report also shows that less than 50% of key populations were reached with combination HIV prevention services in more than half of the countries that reported. This highlights that key populations are still being marginalized and being left behind in the response to HIV.
An estimated 6 000 adolescent girls and young women become infected with HIV around the world every week.
On the other hand, new HIV infections among young women aged between 15 and 24 have dropped by 25% between 2010 and 2018.
It adds that discrimination in these countries is often reinforced by criminal laws, aggressive law enforcement, harassment and violence.
The report says criminalisation of perceived, potential or actual HIV transmission, as well as non-disclosure of HIV-positive status, continues to slow the HIV response and violate the rights of people living with HIV in at least 86 jurisdictions around the world.
It adds that strong progress in settings with high HIV prevalence in the general population, such as in eastern and southern Africa, coupled with a lack of progress in settings where key populations are criminalised and marginalised, has seen the global distribution of new HIV infections cross a notable threshold.
The report also states that among children and adults of more needs to be done to expand access to treatment for children. The estimated 940 000 children (aged 0–14 years) living with HIV globally on antiretroviral therapy in 2018 is almost double the number on treatment in 2010. However, it is far short of the 2018 target of 1.6 million.