SATURDAY, OCTOBER 1, 2016

UNAIDS report shows most unaware of HIV-positive status

A recent report from the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) revealed that 19 million of the 35 million people living with HIV worldwide are unaware of their HIV-positive status.

The report also showed that most people in sub-Saharan Africa seek treatment when they know they have HIV, according to a UNAIDS press release.

"Whether you live or die should not depend on access to an HIV test," Michel Sidibé, the executive director of UNAIDS, said. "Smarter scale-up is needed to close the gap between people who know their HIV status and people who don't, people who can get services and people who can't and people who are protected and people who are punished."

Approximately 90 percent of people in sub-Saharan Africa who know of their HIV-positive status receive antiretroviral treatment (ART), and 76 percent of those patients achieved viral suppression. Recent data showed that for every 10 percent increase in treatment coverage, there is a 1 percent decrease in new infections among people living with HIV.

The report also highlighted the increased access to ART. An additional 2.3 million people gained access to the treatment in 2013.

"If we accelerate all HIV scale-up by 2020, we will be on track to end the epidemic by 2030," Sidibé said. "If not, we risk significantly increasing the time it would take-adding a decade, if not more."