HIV Drug Resistance Could Undermine AIDS Fight

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Global fatality numbers fell to one million a year ago from 1.9 million in 2005, according to a report by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/Aids (UNAids).

Worldwide, 36.7 million are living with HIV and 53% of them are getting the therapy that gives a near-normal life expectancy. This is up substantially from 2005, when only 7% of those living with HIV received antiretroviral therapy, according to the World Health Organization. The number of new smear-positive TB cases detected and treated increased from 15.1 to 17.4 million, an increase of 15 percent, and the number of people treated for multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) increased by 40 percent, from 267,000 to 373,000.

East and Southern Africa, Western and Central Europe, North America, and Latin America are all on track to reach the 90-90-90 targets by 2020.

"The Affordable Care Act has actually been incredibly important in helping even more people access care, treatment and prevention with respect to HIV", Warren said. UNAIDS said how the region is progressing to the 2020 target of having 90 per cent of PLWA knowing their status, 90 per cent of diagnosed people accessing treatment and 90 per cent of those treated achieving viral suppression (90-90-90).

In Asia and Pacific region, the most of new infections are taking place in 10 countries among which, India, China, Indonesia, are leading the list. The year 2016 saw 1.8 million new infections, nearly half the record number of some 3.5 million in 1997, said UNAIDS. Of those who know their status 77% were accessing treatment, and 82% of those accessing treatment were virally suppressed.

And among the most significant impacts of a vast scale-up of HIV testing, treatment and prevention programs, has been in the reduction of AIDS-related deaths, which have dropped by nearly half since 2005.

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Among them, 1.8 million were children and 2.1 million people contracted HIV in 2015 itself.

The wider availability of antiretroviral (ARV) treatment has led to almost one third reduction in AIDS-related deaths since 2010 in the region.

Mathematical modelling shows that an additional 135,000 deaths and 105,000 new infections could happen in the next five years unless action is taken, with treatment costs increased by $650 million (560 million euros) over the same period, said the WHO.

The report warned, however, that not all regions are making progress.

"Globally, progress has been significant, but there is still more work to do", the authors said in a statement.

The results, based on data from the end of 2016, also show that programs supported by the Global Fund partnership provided 4.3 million pregnant women with antiretroviral medicines to prevent the transmission of HIV to their unborn children.

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