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19.5 Million People Now on Life-Saving HIV Treatment

New UNAIDS report details progress towards 90-90-90 targets

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Brian Honermann, Deputy Director of Public Policy at amfAR, discusses implications of the UNAIDS report on Al Jazeera news. 

UNAIDS has announced that for the first time, more than half of all people living with HIV (53%) have access to treatment, and that AIDS-related deaths have declined by almost half since 2005. Its latest report, “Ending AIDS—Progress Towards 90-90-90 Targets,” provides detailed analysis of global, regional and country progress toward the “90-90-90” Fast-Track targets and the goal of ending AIDS by 2030.

The 90-90-90 targets were launched in 2014 to accelerate progress so that, by 2020, 90% of all people living with HIV know their HIV status, 90% of all people with diagnosed HIV are accessing sustained antiretroviral therapy, and 90% of all people accessing antiretroviral therapy are virally suppressed.

From left: Michèle Boccoz, French AIDS Ambassador, Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS, Anne Hidalgo, Mayor of Paris, and Christine Kafando, founder of Association Espoir pour Demain Photo cou
From left: Michèle Boccoz, French AIDS Ambassador, Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS, Anne Hidalgo, Mayor of Paris, and Christine Kafando, founder of Association Espoir pour Demain (Photo courtesy of UNAIDS)

According to the new report:

  • AIDS-related deaths have fallen from 1.9 million in 2005 to 1 million in 2016.

  • Eastern and southern Africa, western and central Europe, and North America and Latin America are on track to reach the 90–90–90 targets by 2020. The Caribbean and Asia and the Pacific can also reach the 90–90–90 targets if programs are further accelerated.

  • The region showing the most progress is eastern and southern Africa, which accounts for more than half of all people living with HIV. Since 2010, AIDS-related deaths have fallen by 42% and new HIV infections have declined by 29%, including a 56% drop in new HIV infections among children.

  • Progress against the 90–90–90 targets has, however, been poor in the Middle East and North Africa and in eastern Europe and central Asia, where AIDS-related deaths have risen by 48% and 38%, respectively.

  • Only 43% of children living with HIV have access to antiretroviral therapy, compared to 54% of adults. Young people (15–24 years) are lagging behind on multiple fronts—knowledge of HIV, HIV testing, treatment and prevention. Young people continue to be at great risk of HIV infection, especially young women in sub-Saharan Africa.

  • Outside of sub-Saharan Africa, key populations and their sexual partners accounted for 80% of new HIV infections in 2015, and even in sub-Saharan Africa, key populations account for 25% of new HIV infections.

  • While progress has been significant, there is still more work to do. Around 30% of people living with HIV still do not know their HIV status, 17.1 million people living with HIV do not have access to antiretroviral therapy, and more than half of all people living with HIV are not virally suppressed.

  • Resources for the AIDS response remain flat. At the end of 2016, around $19 billion was available in low- and middle-income countries, with domestic resources accounting for 57% of the global total. An estimated $26 billion will be needed for the global response to HIV by 2020. We are still $7 billion short.

The report and supporting materials are available on the UNAIDS website at: http://www.unaids.org/en/resources/campaigns/globalAIDSupdate2017