Health News of 2014-07-22

Stigma still barrier to HIV and AIDS care

Discrimination and stigma against people living with HIV and AIDS continue to be the major barriers to effective access to health.

The President of the International AIDS Society (IAS), Professor Francoise Barre-Sinoussi, who said this at the opening ceremony of the 20th International AIDS Conference at Melbourne in Australia, said there were many countries still struggling to address the HIV epidemic.

“We need again to shout out loud that we will not stand idly by when governments, in violation of all human rights principles, are enforcing monstrous laws,” she declared.

AIDS 2014

The five-day conference, on the theme, “Stepping up the pace,” has brought together over 12,000 delegates from all over the world to discuss the latest research developments and the presentation of the status of the epidemic from world renowned experts.

Areas being looked at include, HIV cure strategies and challenges; voluntary medical male circumcision; HIV prevention via pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP); Treatment as Prevention (TasP); HIV and hormonal contraception among others.

Scientific efforts

Professor Barre-Sinoussi said”since two years ago, we have seen much scientific progress in the fight against AIDS and co-infections”, adding that research on HIV cure and vaccines had generated many results, some encouraging and some more disappointing.

”The tremendous scale-up of HIV programmes have for so many people transformed HIV from a death sentence into a chronically manageable diseases,” she declared. Professor Barre-Sinoussi was pleased that so far one-third of people living with HIV who needed treatment now had access to it, but was quick to add,”Nevertheless, these remarkable achievements are still not enough.

Twenty-two million people still do not have access to treatment.” The UNAIDS Executive Director, Mr Michel Sidibe, was happy that efforts to increase access to antiretroviral therapy were working.

“In 2013, an additional 2.3 million people gained access to the life-saving medicines. This brings the global number of people accessing ART to nearly 13 million by the end of 2013. Based on recent scale-up, UNAIDS estimates that as of July 2014, as many as 14 million people were accessing ART,” he said

Source: graphic.com
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