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.

The Myanmar Times - Weekend - - Front Page - MYINT KAY THI my­in­tkaythi@mm­

‘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.

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