Re­main­ing alert

AIDS deaths are on the de­cline thanks to med­i­ca­tions; but in­creas­ing drug re­sis­tance poses a dan­ger.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Health - By ANN M. SIM­MONS

THE world has made ma­jor progress in the fight against AIDS – an epi­demic that over the last four decades has killed 35 mil­lion peo­ple – as in­creas­ing num­bers of peo­ple gain ac­cess to life-sav­ing treat­ment and the num­ber of deaths each year fall dra­mat­i­cally.

But there have also been set­backs, most sig­nif­i­cantly grow­ing re­sis­tance to the drugs.

The lat­est statis­tics came out this week in two re­ports, one by the United Na­tions AIDS agency, the other by the World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion.

Here’s the epi­demic to­day, by the num­bers:

– The num­ber of peo­ple with HIV world­wide. This fig­ure is up from 36.1 mil­lion in 2015, largely be­cause of the suc­cess in trans­form­ing the virus from a death sen­tence into a man­age­able ill­ness.

– The num­ber of peo­ple on anti-retro­vi­ral drugs used to sup­press the HIV virus. The fig­ure, up from 17.1 mil­lion in 2015, rep­re­sents 53% of those in­fected.

– The num­ber of AIDS-re­lated deaths last year. This fig­ure is down from 1.9 mil­lion in 2005, a 47% de­cline.

– The num­ber of new HIV in­fec­tions last year. That fig­ure is down 16% since 2010. One big fac­tor driv­ing new in­fec­tions: Peo­ple ages 15 to 24 are lag­ging be­hind the rest of the pop­u­la­tion when it comes to knowl­edge of HIV and test­ing, treat­ment and preven­tion. In ad­di­tion, men are less likely than women to know their HIV sta­tus or start treat­ment.

– The num­ber of peo­ple with HIV in eastern and south­ern Africa,

36.7 mil­lion 19.5 mil­lion 1 mil­lion 1.8 mil­lion 19.4 mil­lion

the places hard­est hit by the epi­demic. That’s 53% of all in­fec­tions world­wide.

– The num­ber of peo­ple on an­tiretro­vi­ral drugs in eastern and south­ern Africa. That fig­ure, up from 10.3 mil­lion in 2015, rep­re­sents 60% of those who are in­fected, a rate that’s higher than the world av­er­age.

- The num­ber of AIDS-re­lated deaths in eastern and south­ern Africa last year. That fig­ure, which rep­re­sents 42% of the deaths world­wide, is down 42% since 2010.

11.7 mil­lion 420,000

– The num­ber of new HIV in­fec­tions in eastern and south­ern Africa last year. That fig­ure, which rep­re­sents 44% of new in­fec­tions world­wide, is down 29% since 2010.

– The num­ber of AIDS-re­lated deaths in the Mid­dle East and North Africa last year. That fig­ure is up 19% since 2010. Deaths also rose sub­stan­tially in Eastern Europe and Cen­tral Asia.

– The num­ber of coun­tries that have met the U.N.’s “90-90-90” goal: 90% of all peo­ple with HIV know they are in­fected, with 90% of those tak­ing sus­tained an­tiretro­vi­ral ther­apy, with 90% of those achiev­ing sup­pres­sion of the virus. The coun­tries are Botswana, Cam­bo­dia, Den­mark, Ice­land, Sin­ga­pore, Swe­den and Bri­tain.

The aim is that the world will achieve those marks by 2020.

– The es­ti­mated num­ber of dol­lars needed to reach the 90-90-90 goal by 2020. Ac­cord­ing UNAIDS, there is cur­rently a $7bil (RM29.96bil) short­fall.

– The num­ber of coun­tries – of the 10 that were part of a study on re­sis­tance in Africa, Asia and Latin Amer­ica – in which more than 10% of peo­ple start­ing an­tiretro­vi­ral

790,000 11,000 7 26 bil­lion 6

ther­a­pies have HIV strains that are re­sis­tant to the most widely use medicines.

– The num­ber of ad­di­tional AIDS-re­lated deaths the world would see over the next five years if no progress is made against curb­ing drug re­sis­tance. Unchecked re­sis­tance would also lead to ad­di­tional 105,000 in­fec­tions, be­cause when treat­ment fails to sup­press the virus,

135,000

the pa­tient is more likely to in­fect other peo­ple.

– The num­ber of dol­lars by which HIV treat­ment costs could in­crease in the next five years if no action is taken to com­bat the trend of re­sis­tance. The cost the HIV re­sponse is ex­pected to peak to around $26.2bil (RM112.12bil) in 2020. – Los An­ge­les Times/Tribune News Ser­vice

650 mil­lion

The num­ber of new HIV in­fec­tions last year was 1.8 mil­lion. That fig­ure is down 16% since 2010. — AFP

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