Are we on track to end AIDS, viral hepatitis and STIs by 2030 ?

Shobha Shukla – CNS (Citizen News Service)
Well, it seems to be a mixed bag of gains and losses. While there are reasons to celebrate, significant gaps remain to be plugged.
The latest Global Health Sector Strategies Report of the World Health Organization (WHO) shows that while there has been a substantial increase in expanding service access for HIV, viral hepatitis and sexually transmitted infections (STIs), 2.5 million people are still dying every year due to these three infections.
Thus, these illnesses continue to pose a major global health challenge.
In lead up to the world's largest AIDS conference this year - 25th International AIDS Conference or AIDS 2024, there is a growing call to #PutPeopleFirst. People-centred responses grounded in human rights can help accelerate progress towards ending AIDS, viral hepatitis and STIs.
Are we keeping the promise?
If a person living with HIV is virally suppressed, then undetectable equals untransmittable (#Uequals-U) becomes a reality - as there is zero risk of transmission while the person remains healthy and productive (comparable to others without the infection).
On the positive side, globally, 86% of people living with HIV know their status, 76% of them are on lifesaving antiretroviral treatment, and 71% of them are virally suppressed.
- 5 countries have already met the 2025 targets of 95-95-95 (95% of people with HIV should know their status, 95% of them be on antiretroviral therapy, and 95% of them be virally suppressed by 2025).
- 16 other countries are likely to reach these targets by 2025.
- 19 countries have eliminated vertical (mother to child) transmission of HIV and/or syphilis.
Also, dual HIV/syphilis rapid diagnostic tests are being rolled out for pregnant women in antenatal care and for key populations.
Infection rates are declining but are they declining fast enough?
Yet many indicators remain off-track to achieve the 2025 and 2030 global targets. While HIV incidence and HIV-related deaths are declining, the rates of decline are not fast enough.
There were 1.3 million new HIV infections and 630,000 HIV-related deaths in 2022 -many of them due to late engagement in care and structural barriers to service access.
(To be contd)