The “The Path That Ends AIDS” report by UNAIDS highlights the progress and challenges in the global fight against AIDS and HIV. It stresses the importance of ongoing efforts to improve access to treatment, tackle inequalities, combat stigma, and secure sufficient funding for the cause. Continued dedication is essential to achieve the goal of ending AIDS and HIV worldwide.
GS II: Health
Dimensions of the Article:
- Key Highlights of the UNAIDS Report
- AIDS Disease
- Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS:
Key Highlights of the UNAIDS Report:
Global Treatment Situation:
- AIDS claimed a life every minute in 2022.
- Around 9.2 million people with HIV lacked treatment access in 2022.
- Many of the 2.1 million receiving treatment were not virally suppressed.
- 29.8 million out of 39 million people living with HIV worldwide are receiving treatment.
- 1.6 million additional people received HIV treatment each year between 2020 and 2022.
- Global target of 35 million people receiving HIV treatment by 2025 is achievable if progress is sustained.
- Eastern Europe, Central Asia, Middle East, and North Africa showed slower treatment progress.
- Only about half of the 2+ million people living with HIV in these regions received antiretroviral therapy in 2022.
- Men living with HIV in certain regions are less likely to receive treatment compared to women.
- Gender discrimination must be addressed for equal access to treatment.
HIV Incidence and Prevention:
- AIDS-related deaths among children decreased by 64% from 2010 to 2022.
- About 84,000 children lost their lives to HIV in 2022, and 43% of children with HIV did not receive treatment.
- Women and girls accounted for 63% of new HIV infections in sub-Saharan Africa.
- Only 42% of high-incidence districts in the region have dedicated prevention programs.
- HIV incidence declined in regions with increased prevention funding.
- Eastern Europe, Central Asia, Middle East, and North Africa face HIV epidemic challenges due to lack of funding.
- In 2022, only USD 20.8 billion was available for HIV programs in low- and middle-income countries, falling short of the required USD 29.3 billion by 2025.
- Funding increased in the early 2010s but has since dropped to 2013 levels.
- There was a 2.6% funding drop in 2022 compared to the previous year.
- AIDS is a chronic and potentially life-threatening health condition caused by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) that weakens the body’s ability to fight infections.
HIV and CD4 Cells:
- HIV targets CD4 cells, a type of White Blood Cell (T cells) crucial for immune response.
- CD4 cells roam the body detecting anomalies and infections in cells.
HIV Replication and Immune System Damage:
- Once inside the body, HIV multiplies and destroys CD4 cells, severely impairing the immune system.
- The virus becomes a permanent part of the body once it enters, and there is no cure.
CD4 Count and Immune Function:
- HIV-infected individuals experience a significant reduction in CD4 cell count.
- In healthy individuals, CD4 count ranges from 500 to 1600, but in infected individuals, it can drop as low as 200.
- HIV spreads through certain body fluids, including blood and semen.
- Common transmission routes include unprotected sex, sharing contaminated needles, and mother-to-child transmission during childbirth or breastfeeding.
Symptoms and Progression:
- Initial symptoms of HIV infection may include fatigue, fever, and sores.
- Progression to AIDS can lead to severe symptoms like pneumonia and certain cancers.
- Precautions can be taken to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV.
- Early diagnosis and treatment are crucial for managing the disease.
- Pre-marital testing, including HIV testing, can ensure overall safety.
- Adopting protective techniques is essential to prevent the spread of Sexually Transmitted Diseases.
Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS:
- The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) is a global initiative launched in 1996 with the goal of ending AIDS as a public health threat by 2030, in alignment with the Sustainable Development Goals.
- UNAIDS envisions achieving zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination, and zero AIDS-related deaths, and adheres to the principle of leaving no one behind.
- In 2016, the UN adopted a Political Declaration on ending AIDS, which outlines the objective of eliminating AIDS as a public health threat by 2030.
-Source: Down To Earth