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World AIDS Day: WHO promotes 'Right to health' theme

By Chennabasaveshwar

World AIDS Day was first conceptualized by Thomas Netter and James W. Bunn in 1987.They had shared their idea about the AIDS day to Dr. Jonathan Mann (Director of the AIDS Global Programme), who had approved the idea and recommended the World AIDS Day observance on 1st of December in the year 1988.

World AIDS Day: WHO promotes 'Right to health' theme

This year, to complement the global World AIDS Day campaign which promotes the theme "Right to health", the World Health Organization (WHO) will highlight the need for all 36.7 million people living with HIV and those who are vulnerable and affected by the epidemic, to reach the goal of universal health coverage.

  • HIV continues to be a major global public health issue, having claimed more than 35 million lives so far. In 2016, 1.0 million people died from HIV-related causes globally.
  • There were approximately 36.7 million people living with HIV at the end of 2016 with 1.8 million people becoming newly infected in 2016 globally.
  • 54 per cent of adults and 43% of children living with HIV are currently receiving lifelong antiretroviral therapy (ART)
  • Global ART coverage for pregnant and breastfeeding women living with HIV is high at 76 per cent
  • The WHO African Region is the most affected region, with 25.6 million people living with HIV in 2016.
  • The African region also accounts for almost two-thirds of the global total of new HIV infections.
  • HIV infection is often diagnosed through rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs), which detect the presence or absence of HIV antibodies.
  • Most often these tests provide same-day test results, which are essential for same-day diagnosis and early treatment and care.
  • Key populations are groups who are at increased risk of HIV irrespective of epidemic type or local context.
  • They include: men who have sex with men, people who inject drugs, people in prisons and other closed settings, sex workers and their clients, and transgender people.
  • Key populations often have legal and social issues related to their behaviours that increase vulnerability to HIV and reduce access to testing and treatment programmes.
  • In 2015, an estimated 44 per cent of new infections occurred among key populations and their partners.
  • There is no cure for HIV infection. However, effective antiretroviral (ARV) drugs can control the virus and help prevent transmission so that people with HIV, and those at substantial risk, can enjoy healthy, long and productive lives.
  • It is estimated that currently, only 70 per cent of people with HIV know their status. To reach the target of 90 per cent, an additional 7.5 million people need to access HIV testing services.
  • In mid-2017, 20.9 million people living with HIV were receiving antiretroviral therapy (ART) globally.
  • Between 2000 and 2016, new HIV infections fell by 39 per cent, and HIV-related deaths fell by one third with 13.1 million lives saved due to ART in the same period.
  • This achievement was the result of great efforts by national HIV programmes supported by civil society and a range of development partners.

(Data provided by WHO updated November 2017)

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