HIV AIDS Stigma and education


CAPE TOWN – The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and Aids (UNAIDS) says nearly 21 million people living with HIV are now receiving treatment in the world.

On Monday, UNAIDS launched a new report in Khayelitsha which shows access to treatment has risen significantly over the years.

The launch comes ahead of World Aids Day on 1 December.

Speaking in Khayelitsha on Monday, UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé says in the year 2000, there were only 90 people in South Africa on HIV treatment.

Today the country has the biggest life-saving programme in the world, with more than four million people receiving treatment.

Sidibé adds scientific research shows a person living with the virus who is adhering to an effective regime of antiretroviral therapy, is up to 97% less likely to transmit HIV.

From 2010 to 2016, new HIV infections among children were reduced by 56% in eastern and southern Africa after authorities upscaled treatment access for infected pregnant women.

Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi, who attended the launch says in 2001 the first person in Khayelitsha started HIV treatment.

Today, there are almost 42,000 being treated there.


Key facts

  • 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% 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% .
  • 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% 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% of people with HIV know their status. To reach the target of 90%, an additional 7.5 million people need to access HIV testing services. In 2016, 19.5 million people living with HIV were receiving antiretroviral therapy (ART) globally.
  • Between 2000 and 2016, new HIV infections fell by 39%, 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

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