BOBBY RAMAKANT - CNS
When we know how to end AIDS and prevent HIV transmission, how can one explain 680,000 deaths in 2020 and 1.5 million new infections?
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When we know how to prevent HIV transmission, and how to keep every person living with HIV healthy, then how can one fathom deaths of at least 680,000 people due to AIDS-related illnesses in 2020 worldwide? And how can one explain, at least 1.5 million new HIV infections occurring globally in 2020?
"Every new HIV infection is a reality check and grim reminder that we are failing on prevention - we could have done better. Every death due to AIDS-related illness, is not only unfortunate but a deeply disturbing setback, because we know how a person living with HIV can stay healthy, and live a fulfilling normal life. No one has to die of AIDS - only if we can convert scientific gains, words and promises into public health actions on the ground - fast enough and as best as we can" rightly said CNS founding Executive Director and feminist human rights advocate Shobha Shukla.
109 months left to end AIDS by 2030
All nations globally have promised to end AIDS by 2030 (109 months left to meet this target) as per the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and domestic commitments. But we do not have to wait till 2030 because we can make #endAIDS a reality in lives of people living with HIV - TODAY.
Lifesaving antiretroviral therapy (ART) and viral load suppression, along with the whole cascade of HIV care and support, keeps them healthy and away from AIDS-related illnesses. Likewise, we can do so much better to break the chain of transmission of HIV. Treatment as prevention - works - along with whole cascade of HIV combination prevention options. Inaction is not a choice because price of inaction is unacceptable: new infections and untimely deaths to name a few.
"Thanks to scientific research and strong evidence that has given us tools to effectively prevent transmission of HIV, diagnose HIV, treat people living with HIV. That is why it is possible for people living with HIV who can live fulfilling normal lives and manage co-morbidities as well as co-infections. But we have not satisfactorily leveraged this knowledge into action. That is why in 2020, when the world was reeling through the Covid-19 pandemic, 1.5 million people were newly infected with HIV, and 680,000 people died of AIDS-related illnesses globally" added Dr Ishwar Gilada, who is on the Governing Council of International AIDS Society (IAS).
Since most nations could not meet 2020 AIDS targets, now the eyes are set on 2030 goalpost of 95-95-95 targets (95% of people living with HIV to know their status, 95% of them should be on ART, and 95% of these be virally suppressed).
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