We Told You So -- New UNAIDS Report Shows Missing Focus on Rights and Evidence-Based Responses Hurting Prevention
May 31, 2016
This is welcome news, but unfortunately the news is not all good. The report also reveals that declines in rates of HIV acquisition have "slowed alarmingly" with the overall rates of new infections largely unchanged. These rates continue to be disproportionately high among young women, and key populations and their sexual partners.
While the annual number of new infections has changed little from the previous year, the data that make up that total have changed. Rates are on the decline in eastern and southern Africa -- 4% since 2010 -- while new infections in eastern Europe and central Asia are up 57% over the same period. Any decline, even a modest one, indicates progress, but prevention advocates are left to wonder what could have been had countries reached the 80% coverage of voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) targets. Some models predicted 10-15, even 25, percent declines if VMMC targets were reached. So yes, overall decline is good but this modest number represents a missed opportunity to do much much better.
And speaking of VMMC, the report didn't speak to it much at all, or any of the prevention targets outlined in UNAIDS' 2016-2021 Strategy, released last October. There is a section of the 12-page update on prevention, the title of which points to the need for a "reinvigoration of HIV prevention" but the update misses the mark, leaving out the targets completely and reporting only on successes in ART coverage.
And prevention was dealt another setback today with the National Health Service England confirming its decision not to fund PrEP -- and somehow it's still a surprise when reports like the one released today show that global HIV rates aren't declining.
UNAIDS comments that "Fast-Track approach to HIV treatment is working. Global consensus and leadership have driven greater investment of financial and human capital, and mounting clinical experience and research, improved treatment regimens and diagnostics and reductions in the price of medicines have created gains in efficiency and effectiveness." This is certainly true, but AVAC calls for -- and looks forward to -- future reporting where the "Fast-Track" approach to treatment AND prevention is the global success we all know it can -- and has to -- be.
This article was provided by AVAC: Global Advocacy for HIV Prevention. Visit AVAC's website to find out more about their activities and publications.
Add Your Comment:
(Please note: Your name and comment will be public, and may even show up in
Internet search results. Be careful when providing personal information! Before
adding your comment, please read TheBody.com's Comment Policy.)