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Clock is ticking: 26 months left to meet AIDS 90-90-90 targets

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11th ASICON opens in Bengaluru, India, with top HIV medical experts and scientists from around the world
11th ASICON opens in Bengaluru, India, with top HIV medical experts and scientists from around the world
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(CNS): Governments have promised to end AIDS by 2030 but are we on track? Experts reviewed progress we are making towards some HIV related goals with a deadline earlier, such as the 90-90-90 targets set for 2020.

Dr Ishwar Gilada, President of AIDS Society of India (ASI) and Governing Council Member of International AIDS Society, said: "With an estimated 2.1 million people living with HIV (PLHIV), India has the third highest burden of HIV in the world, after South Africa and Nigeria. India is among 193 countries that are aiming to end AIDS by 2030 and achieve 90-90-90 targets by 2020; which are not just milestones set by UNAIDS but also enshrined in Government of India's National Health Policy (NHP 2017). Despite formidable challenges, India has made commendable progress towards these ambitious goals, but there is a very long way ahead of us, if we are to deliver on these promises."


90-90-90 targets include: 90% of all people living with HIV (PLHIV) will know their HIV status, 90% of all PLHIV will receive antiretroviral therapy- ART, and 90% of all people receiving ART will have suppressed viral load to minimize HIV transmission.

Some partial success must not set in any complacency

"Some partial success must not set in any complacency" warned Dr Ishwar Gilada who was among the first Indian doctors to begin HIV care. "India's AIDS response is at a precarious point - new HIV infections which amounted to 87,580 (decline of just 27% between 2010-2017) -- warrant us to reflect if we could have done better in preventing HIV transmission, diagnosing more PLHIV and putting more people on ART to inch closer towards 90-90-90 goals. We are almost the halfway point to reach the 90-90-90 targets by 2020, however the pace of progress in India has to be speeded up to match our national ambition to reach these goals", he said.

"The theme of ASICON 2018 is 'Breaking barriers for health, hope and healing.' And the clock is indeed ticking to break the barriers that stand in India's way of achieving the 90-90-90 targets by 2020. After India adopted WHO's Test and Treat strategy as a national policy, the entire machinery has been gearing up to achieve these targets. We are just about 26 months away from the deadline and a lot is yet to be achieved", added Dr Gilada.

"As per NACO data of 2017, 77% of the estimated 21.40 lakh PLHIV in India knew their HIV status; 11.81 lakhs PLHIV (56%) were on life-saving ART. We haven't yet reached out to 23% of PLHIV, and 44% of PLHIV have yet to get ART in India, despite WHO and NACO guidelines to 'test and treat all'. We cannot slacken our efforts, because failing to reach out to each PLHIV, not putting them on ART and doing viral load testing (VLT), threatens to reverse the progress made in fighting AIDS and HIV prevention cannot take a backseat", rues Dr Gilada.

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