UNAIDS, Lancet Raise Alarm Over New HIV Epidemic | Independent Newspapers Limited
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UNAIDS, Lancet Raise Alarm Over New HIV Epidemic

Posted: Jun 28, 2015 at 3:54 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Hassan Zaggi, Abuja

Unless countries worst affected by Humman Immuno Virus (HIV) demonstrate determination and focus on stopping new HIV infection and increasing access to anti-retroviral drugs, the epidemic would definitely rebound.

This is contained in a new report released by United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and Lancet Commission, a copy which was made available to Daily Independent in Abuja, Sunday.

Professor Peter Piot, Director of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, Co-Chair of the Commission, and lead author of the report stressed: “We must face hard truths – if the current rate of new HIV infections continues, merely sustaining the major efforts we already have in place will not be enough to stop deaths from AIDS increasing within five years in many countries.

“Expanding sustainable access to treatment is essential, but we will not treat ourselves out of the AIDS epidemic. We must also reinvigorate HIV prevention efforts, particularly among populations at highest risk, while removing legal and societal discrimination.”

Among the major findings from the report is that sustaining current HIV treatment and prevention efforts would require up to 2 per cent of GDP, and at least a third of total government health expenditure, in the most affected African countries from 2014 to 2030 to fund HIV programmes.

This, according to the report,  clearly demonstrates that international support to the AIDS efforts in these countries will be needed for many years to come.

However,  the report further said that there is also a pressing need to ensure that people are not left behind in middle-income countries, which can and must do more to sustain their HIV prevention and care programming in higher risk, often marginalised populations.

“If the most is made of this five-year window of opportunity, HIV transmission and AIDS-related deaths could be greatly reduced and mother-to-child transmission virtually eliminated by 2030.

“This will not only require an increase in resources, but also a more strategic and efficient use of those resources,” the report further noted.

However, while speaking with Daily Independent on the report, the UNAIDS Country Director for Nigeria and UNAIDS Focal Person for ECOWAS,  Dr. Bilali Camara, said: “This landmark report is the result of a worldwide effort by many experts to alert world leaders that if we fast-track national HIV responses, we will win against the epidemic.

“But if we do not act now, we will face the consequences with many new HIV infections and many lives unnecessarily lost to AIDS.”