More ‘political commitment’ needed urgently for HIV prevention: UNAIDS chief

UNAIDS 2018

World Bank/Trevor Samson Gloria who is HIV positive in Khayelitsha township outside Cape Town, South Africa, where the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) held an AIDS awareness campaign, August 2007.

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.

As HIV infections continue to rise, UNAIDS — the UN agency leading the global effort to end the public health threat posed by the virus — called on Tuesday for countries to boost prevention measures and continue facilitating access to treatment.

Around 1.8 million people became newly infected with HIV and around 50 countries experienced a rise in new HIV infections during last year, according to Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS, who was speaking at the ongoing International AIDS Conference in the Netherlands.

“Health is a human rights imperative and we are deeply concerned about the lack of political commitment and the failure to invest in proven HIV programmes, particularly for young people and key populations,” said the UNAIDS chief, in a press release. “If countries think they can treat their way out of their epidemics, they are dangerously mistaken,” he added.

Health is a human rights imperative and we are deeply concerned about the lack of political commitment and the failure to invest in proven HIV programmes – UNAIDS chief Michel Sidibé

According to a new UNAIDS report, 47 per cent of new HIV infections globally affect key vulnerable populations, such as sex workers, and people who inject drugs. Although a combination of HIV prevention approaches could mitigate this — such as harm reduction, pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), better social care and condoms — many countries are unwilling to invest in approaches which they view as culturally or religiously inappropriate.

In some Southern African countries for example, where HIV prevalence can be as high as 70 per cent among sex workers, it is reported that condoms are often confiscated by the police, said the agency.

In Eastern Europe and Central Asia, one third of all new HIV infections occur among people who inject drugs, as the criminalization of drug use often leads them to use unsterilized needles.

Gay men and other men who have sex with men, accounted for 57 per cent of new HIV infections in Europe and North America in 2017, and 41 per cent in Latin America. However, the criminalization of same-sex intercourse in many countries often prevents access to HIV services for these groups.

“If countries don’t provide comprehensive sexuality education, condoms, harm reduction or pre-exposure prophylaxis for key populations, this will ultimately translate into more new HIV infections, higher future treatment costs and a higher burden for health-care budgets and systems,” said Mr. Sidibé.

To urgently address this “HIV prevention crisis” and increase political commitment for HIV prevention, a Global HIV Prevention Coalition of United Nations Member States, donors, civil society organizations and implementers was established in 2017 that includes the 25 countries which bear the highest HIV burden. Their goal is to reduce new HIV infections by 75 per cent by 2020.

According to UNAIDS, countries and cities that have adequately invested are seeing results. Helsinki in Finland and San Francisco in the United States, are stark examples where bold policies for HIV prevention have led to sharp declines in the number of new infections.

The UN agency stresses that women and youth need targeted approaches as they are often more vulnerable and, therefore, more at risk of exposure.

While most countries have significantly scaled up their HIV treatment programmes, some to the extent of reaching 80 per cent of people living with HIV with antiretroviral therapy, many are not being diagnosed and treated soon enough, allowing transmissions to occur before they start treatment or if treatment is interrupted.

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Syria’s groundbreaking constitutional talks: ‘a clear success of mediation’ says Guterres in Turkey

10 million Yemenis ‘one step away from famine’, UN food relief agency calls for ‘unhindered access’ to frontline regions

“911, What’s your emergency?”

Nearly a third of the globe is now on Facebook – chart of the day

Climate change is forcing 20 million people a year from their homes, Oxfam says

4 ways Africa can prepare its youth for the digital economy

Germany objects to EU Commission’s plan for a Eurozone bank deposits insurance scheme but Berlin could go along

Alcohol abuse kills three million people a year, most of them men – WHO report

2013, a Political Odyssey: What future for Italy?

This is why mental health should be a political priority

Commission welcomes European Parliament adoption of EU4Health programme

Commission welcomes agreement on the modernisation of EU export controls

7 ways to break the fast fashion habit – and save the planet

ECB again to subsidize euro area banks with more than one trillion euro

Thomas Cook bankruptcy: Better consumer and employee protection needed

MWC 2016 LIVE: Ingenu steps up efforts to build LPWA networks across the globe

Greener tourism: Greater collaboration needed to tackle rising emissions

How digital entrepreneurs will help shape the world after the COVID-19 pandemic

MEPs back plans to promote water reuse for agricultural irrigation

The ECB proposes a swift solution for SMEs’ financing

Working fewer hours makes you more efficient. Here’s the proof

COVID-19: A coordinated EU health strategy needed, say MEPs

‘BioSolar Leaves’ are better at cleaning the air than trees, say the technology’s developers

EU leaders agree to delay Brexit until 31 October

Yemen war ‘a test of our humanity’, and we’re ‘badly failing’ warns UN Children’s Fund chief

German Presidency outlines priorities to EP committees

The refugee crisis seen through the eyes of a young doctor from Turkey

EU, Latin America and the Caribbean: Partnering for prosperity, democracy, resilience and global governance

Collective action to enable sustainable growth will be critical to end tropical deforestation

Adoption of new rules to better protect children caught in cross-border parental disputes

Arrest of three Libyans wanted for grave crimes ‘would send strong and necessary message’ to victims, urges top Prosecutor

State aid: Commission approves around €36 million Romanian rescue aid to state-owned flag carrier TAROM

COVID-19: from the chaos of the pandemic to the difficulties in vaccination

Ecofin: ‘The Friday battle’ for the banking union

Haiti cholera outbreak ‘stopped in its tracks’

The UK option: An overarching alternative for the whole Brexit options

Security Council gravely concerned by Ebola outbreak in DR Congo, demands immediate end to violence hampering response

Here’s how to achieve growth in the Middle East and North Africa

Civil society groups matter for Cambodia’s sustainable development: UN expert

European Institute of Innovation and Technology: Commission welcomes political agreement on strategy for 2021-2027

The von der Leyen Commission: for a Union that strives for more

Number of MEPs to be reduced after EU elections in 2019

The challenge of palliative care in universal health coverage

The world needs carbon-neutral flying. Here’s how to bring it one step closer

Facts, not fear, will stop COVID-19 – so how should we talk about it?

Concorde is a reminder that the only way for innovation is up

Parlamentarians to “break up” with reality in the Google antitrust case

Implementation of tax transparency initiative delivering concrete and impressive results

The world has made spectacular progress in every measure of well-being. So why does almost no one know about it?

EU guidance on the handling of visa applications from residents of Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk regions

MEPs to prioritise environment and climate action in next long-term budget

GDP growth slows in most G20 economies in third quarter of 2019

This is why retail is such a sore point in India-US trade relations

Khashoggi murder trials must public and meet international standards, UN expert urges

UN chief seeking ‘renewed commitment’ to global rules and values, as world leaders head to New York

Agriculture and Fisheries Council

A reality check on inclusive innovation

Austerity lovers to put a break on Renzi’s growth vision for Europe? the Sting reports live from World Economic Forum 2015 in Davos

This man is turning cities into giant sponges to save lives

4 key trends on how COVID has impacted women in business

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s