AIDS deaths fall 52% in Myanmar
Over the past six years, Aids-related deaths declined sharply, according to the latest UNAIDS report, the steepest decline in Asia and the Pacific.
‘Myanmar’s momentum must be sustained to achieve its goal of ending the AIDS epidemic...’ Oussama Tawil UNAIDS Myanmar
A NEW global report says that Myanmar’s Aids-related deaths have declined by 52 percent in six years.
The UNAIDS report on the global HIV epidemic said the decline was the steepest in Asia and the Pacific.
The report, “Ending AIDS: progress towards the 90-90-90 targets”, was released by UNAIDS on July 20.
It said an estimated 8000 people died from Aids-related causes in Myanmar in 2016, a 52pc decrease from 2010.
Oussama Tawil, country director of UNAIDS Myanmar, said new HIV infections declined by 26pc. “The decline is a strong indicator of Myanmar’s national HIV response,” he said.
“This shows the country’s leadership, commitment and engagement are having results which are saving thousands of lives,” he said.
The estimated number of people living with HIV in Myanmar is 230,000, and 57pc were accessing lifesaving antiretroviral therapy.
New HIV infections have fallen by 26pc since 2010, and there were an estimated 11,000 new infections in 2016, according to UNAIDS.
It said that 88pc of women living with HIV in Myanmar were accessing services for the prevention of motherto-child HIV transmission.
The national HIV prevalence among key populations is at 28.5pc for people who inject drugs, 11.6pc for men who have sex with other men, and 14.6pc for female sex workers.
“While we are now seeing positive results in the reduction of deaths and new infections, Myanmar’s momentum must be sustained to achieve its goal of ending the AIDS epidemic as a public health threat by 2030,”said Tawil.
The National Strategic Plan on HIV and AIDS (2016-2020 aims for the achievement of global 90-90-90 targets, meaning 90pc of people living with HIV know their status, 90pc of people living with HIV who know their status receive treatment, and 90pc of people living with HIV on treatment have suppressed viral loads.
Moreover, it aims for 90pc of key populations to have access to HIV prevention services and 90pc of people living with and affected by HIV to report zero discrimination, especially in health, education and the workplace.
Tawil said that Myanmar will have challenges to end the HIV epidemic but is likely to achieve those goals.
‘’Continued commitment and support from the government, donors, international and national non-government organisations, community networks and people living with HIV groups are crucial to achieving the country’s HIV response targets,” he said.
The UNAIDS Program Coordinating Board adopted a new strategy to end the AIDS epidemic as a public health threat by 2030. The UNAIDS 2016–2021 Strategy is one of the first in the United Nations system to be aligned to the Sustainable Development Goals, which set the framework for global development policy over the next 15 years, including ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030.
Myanmar is in good position compared to other regional countries: While Myanmar has 57pc treatment, treatment coverage in some countries in the Asia-pacific on average is only 47pc.