The world has seen a 16 per cent reduction in HIV infection in eight years with 1.7 million infected persons in 2018 when compared to 2.1 million in 2010, according to a global report on AIDS brought out by the United Nations.
The report says that new infections among adults annually have declined 13 per cent since 2010. The report also points out that infection among young (15-24 years of age) women have been reduced by 25 per cent between 2010 and 2018. However, the report also cautions that about 6000 women and girls become victims of HIV every week.
TREATMENT AND DEATHS
The report said that increase in treatment has brought down the deaths from about 1.7 million in 2004 to 770000 in 2018. As part of the treatment procedure, the report said that the antiretroviral therapy to women with HIV who are pregnant has lowered the transmission rate from mother to child. When about 28,000 children (0 to 14 years of age) were HIV infected, it was just 160 000 in 2018, which means a 41 per cent reduction in HIV transmission.
While looking at the regions, the report states that the percentage of people infected with HIV has come down in eastern and southern Africa, which is home to 54 per cent of the AIDS patients. Meanwhile, Central Asia and Eastern Europe have both shown an increase of 29 per cent, the report said. When ten per cent of increase was reported from West Asia and North Africa, there was an increase of seven per cent of infected in Latin America.
When looking at the mortality level, Southern and Eastern Africa had shown a decline of 44 per cent in the eight year period. But the deaths in central Asia and Eastern Europe had increased by a margin of five per cent. An increase of nine per cent of AIDS related deaths was reported from Northern Africa and West Asia.
Stating that the epidemic has changed in 2018, the report says that majority of the new HIV infected were among sex workers, gay men, transgender, drug users and prisoners. Gay men added to 17 per cent of new HIV infected persons globally, which included more than a half in North America, central/ Western Europe, 40 per cent in Latin America, 30 per cent in Asia. Drug users contracting HIV came to about 12 per cent. Among drug users who were newly diagnosed with HIV, 41 per cent were from Central Asia and Eastern Europe, 37 percent of new HIV infections were reported in West Asia and North Africa. The report says that sex workers amounted to six per cent of global HIV infected people in 2018, transgender only amounted to five per cent of the newly affected.
In the report, it has been said that infections in young women (15-24 years of age) are 60 per cent higher than young men. The disparity is highly visible in regions where the epidemic has been worst hit, the report added.
The report also states that the affected people are more aware of their situation than before and are taking antiretroviral therapy. Apart from this, testing and treatment facility has also increased worldwide. However, the report says that 20 per cent of the affected people are still not aware that they are infected.
When coming to children who had contracted the infection during pregnancy, breastfeeding or child birth, the report says that diagnosis process was still a challenge. It points out that the children who are under treatment in 2018 were nearly a million, which is said to be double that of 2010.
Despite efforts to bring down infection, the report points out that many of the countries are not taking stern efforts in achieving the goal taken in the 2016 UN General Assembly’s Political Declaration on Ending AIDS. The report says that this was quite evident in 2018 with investment in HIV related issues had a drastic reduction by the low and middle income countries.