Saturday January 25, 2020

UNAIDS: 16 Per Cent Decline in HIV Cases Since 2010, Driven Mostly by Steady Progress

The report also revealed that AIDS-related deaths continued to decline as access to treatment continues

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UNAIDS, HIV, Progress
UNAIDS' Global AIDS Update showed that South Africa, for example, has made huge advances and has successfully reduced new HIV infections by more than 40 per cent and AIDS-related deaths by around 40 per cent. Pixabay

The UNAIDS in its latest report issued on Tuesday said that globally, around 1.7 million people became newly infected with HIV in 2018, a 16 per cent decline since 2010, driven mostly by steady progress across most of eastern and southern Africa.

UNAIDS’ Global AIDS Update showed that South Africa, for example, has made huge advances and has successfully reduced new HIV infections by more than 40 per cent and AIDS-related deaths by around 40 per cent since 2010.

The report also revealed that AIDS-related deaths continued to decline as access to treatment continues to expand and more progress is made in improving the delivery of HIV/tuberculosis services.

Since 2010, AIDS-related deaths have fallen by 33%, to 770 000 in 2018.

UNAIDS, HIV, Progress
The UNAIDS in its latest report issued on Tuesday said that globally, around 1.7 million people became newly infected with HIV in 2018. Pixabay

However, there was still a long way to go in eastern and southern Africa, the region most affected by HIV, and there have been worrying increases in new infections in eastern Europe and central Asia (29 per cent), in the Middle East and North Africa (10 per cent) and in Latin America (7 per cent).

The report also said that key populations and their sexual partners now account for more than half (54 per cent) of new HIV infections globally.

In 2018, key populations, including people who inject drugs, gay men and other men who have sex with men, transgender people, sex workers and prisoners, accounted for around 95 per cent of new HIV infections in eastern Europe and central Asia and in the Middle East and North Africa.

However, the report showed that less than 50 per cent of key populations were reached with combination HIV prevention services in more than half of the countries that reported.

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This highlighted that key populations were still being marginalized and being left behind in the response to HIV.

“We urgently need increased political leadership to end AIDS,” the report quoted Gunilla Carlsson, UNAIDS Executive Director, as saying,

“This starts with investing adequately and smartly and by looking at what’s making some countries so successful. Ending AIDS is possible if we focus on people, not diseases, create road maps for the people and locations being left behind, and take a human rights-based approach to reach people most affected by HIV.” (IANS)

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Here’s how HIV Patients Lose Immunity to Smallpox Despite of Vaccinations

HIV patients lose smallpox immunity despite vaccine says a new study by health experts

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HIV immune
The study found the immune systems of HIV-positive women who were on antiretroviral therapy had a limited response when their blood was exposed to the vaccina virus. Pixabay

HIV patients lose immunity to smallpox even though they were vaccinated against the disease as children and have had much of their immune system restored with anti-retroviral therapy, says a new study.

Antiretroviral therapy (ART) is the use of HIV medicines to treat HIV infection. It helps people with HIV live longer, healthier lives and reduces the risk of HIV transmission.

The study, published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases on HIV-associated immune amnesia could explain why people living with HIV still tend to have shorter lives on average than their HIV-negative counterparts despite being on antiretroviral therapy.

The study follows other research recently published in the journals Science and Science Immunology that found the immune systems of children who contracted measles similarly ‘forgot’ their immunity against other illnesses such as influenza.

Immune system
Researchers have found that HIV patients lose immunity to smallpox even though they were vaccinated against the disease. Pixabay

For the study, lead researcher Mark K. Slifka from Oregon Health and Science University in US, and his colleagues compared the T-cell and antibody responses of a total of 100 HIV-positive and HIV-negative women who were vaccinated against smallpox in their youth.

The research team chose smallpox because its last known US case was in 1949, meaning study participants haven’t recently been exposed to its virus, which would have triggered new T-cell and antibody responses.

They found the immune systems of HIV-positive women who were on antiretroviral therapy had a limited response when their blood was exposed to the vaccina virus, which is used in the smallpox vaccine.

Normally, those vaccinated against smallpox have CD4 T cells that remember the virus and respond in large numbers when they’re exposed again.

Previous research has shown smallpox virus-specific CD4 T cells are maintained for up to 75 years after vaccination.

This finding happened despite the fact that antiretroviral therapy works by boosting CD4 T cell counts in HIV-positive patients.

This indicates that while antiretroviral therapy may boost total T cell counts overall, it can’t recover virus-specific T cells generated from prior childhood vaccinations.

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The research team plans to evaluate whether the same phenomenon occurs in HIV-infected men, and if people living with HIV also lose immune memory to other diseases.

Researchers from SUNY Downstate, Georgetown University, Cornell University, University of Southern California and John Hopkins University, also contributed to this study. (IANS)