Sunday July 21, 2019

World Aids Day : World Health Organization (WHO) Issues New Guidelines on HIV Self-Testing

This year, World Health Organization (WHO) issued new guidelines on HIV self-testing

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Representational image. (Twitter)

December 1, 2016: For nearly three decades every December 1 is observed as World Aids Day. AIDS has killed 35 million people since the start of the pandemic. It has left millions of  the orphans in its wake. Every year, 2 million people acquire the virus, and the U.N. estimates that more than 1 million people die from the virus annually.

Taboos related to sex and AIDS is so deep rooted that often people shy away even testing HIV. So this year, World Health Organization (WHO) issued new guidelines on HIV self-testing.

• According to the latest WHO progress report, “lack of an HIV diagnosis is a major obstacle to implementing the Organization’s recommendation that everyone with HIV should be offered antiretroviral therapy (ART).”

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• “Millions of people with HIV are still missing out on life-saving treatment, which can also prevent HIV transmission to others,” said WHO Director-General Margaret Chan in the release.

• The easy self-testing kit will give the results in just “20 minutes”.

• The WHO report says, “HIV self-testing means people can use oral fluid or blood- finger-pricks to discover their status in a private and convenient setting.”

• The basic care facility and counseling centers to help the patients is already ensured by the UN. Not only that, they would also help the patients to fight against the social stigma which is attached to it.

• The report also focuses on how testing is low among people who are involved in the same-sex relationships, sex workers, transgender, drug addicts and prisoners.

• WHO’s self-testing kits are provided by for free. It also supports other measures that would help people get other such kits at low prices.

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• The release highlights, “HIV self-testing is a way to reach more people with undiagnosed HIV and represents a step forward to empower individuals, diagnose people earlier before they become sick, bring services closer to where people live, and create demand for HIV testing. This is particularly important for those people facing barriers to accessing existing services.”

• WHO hopes that this will have a positive impact and it will be helping those is affected. The organization also urged all the nations to come together and fight, in order to end it by 2030.

– by Pinaz Kazi of NewsGram with inputs from various agencies. Twitter: @PinazKazi

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Progress in Combating Global HIV/AIDS Epidemics Receding

The joint U.N. program on HIV/AIDS, known as UNAIDS, warns the pace of progress in reducing new HIV infections

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Photo shows the headquarters of the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland, May 22, 2019. VOA

A report issued on the eve of an international AIDS conference in Mexico finds progress in combating the global HIV/AIDS epidemic is receding.  The joint U.N. program on HIV/AIDS, known as UNAIDS, warns the pace of progress in reducing new HIV infections is slowing because nations lack the political will needed to end this scourge.

UNAIDS latest global update finds 1.7 million people were newly infected with HIV in 2018 and 770,000 died of AIDS-related illnesses.  The report finds more than 23 million people are receiving anti-retroviral treatment, but another 15 million are still not receiving this life-saving treatment.

UNAIDS Acting Executive Director Gunilla Carlsson says the report for the first time shows key populations and their sexual partners account for more than half of all new HIV infections.  She notes up to 54 percent of new infections is being spread by sex workers, drug users, men having sex with men, transgenders and prisoners.

She tells VOA these key populations suffer from stigma and discrimination.  Consequently, she says they are not being reached at the scale needed to stop transmission of HIV.

Global, HIV, AIDS
A report issued on the eve of an international AIDS conference in Mexico finds progress in combating the global HIV/AIDS epidemic is receding. Pixabay

“The risk of those people being left behind and not being treated in a proper manner with access not only to rights, but also to treatment and care–if we cannot talk about that, we will not solve this.  We see in special regions then where this is extra-noticeable,” Carlsson said.

Carlsson says new infections have risen by 29 percent since 2010 in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.  During the same period, HIV infections have risen by 10 percent in the Middle-East and North Africa.

She says the global HIV/AIDS map shows a mixed picture.  She says some progress has been made in Western Europe and North America, though the number of new infections and deaths there remains unacceptably high.

As in the past, the report finds the majority of people living with HIV and new infections is in Eastern and Southern Africa.  However, it notes interventions in heavily-affected South Africa have succeeded in reducing HIV infections by 40 percent.

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Carlsson warns efforts to bring an end to the HIV/AIDS epidemic will fail without adequate funding.  She says available resources to respond to AIDS has fallen by nearly $1 billion.  Furthermore, she notes the UNAIDS program is more than $7 billion short of the estimated $26.2 billion needed by 2020. (VOA)