Foto: Tânia Rêgo/Agência Brasil

With information from Agência Brasil

The Joint United Nations Program on HIV / AIDS (UNAIDS) released yesterday (16) that about 1.7 million people worldwide were infected by the virus in 2018 – a 16% reduction compared to 2010. The document Global Update on AIDS – Communities at the center shows that the drop was driven mainly by progress in eastern and southern Africa.

The study, launched in Geneva, Switzerland and Eshowe, South Africa, warns, however, that while some countries are making steady progress, others are seeing increased new HIV infections and AIDS-related deaths. The report also points to a slowdown in the reduction of new HIV infections.

“The HIV epidemic has put many societal failings in focus. Where there are inequalities, power imbalances, violence, marginalization, taboos, stigma and discrimination, HIV takes over, “says UNAIDS director Gunilla Carlsson.

According to the document, the outlook for the world’s epidemic is changing: by 2018, more than half of all new HIV infections have been among people in the so-called key populations, including sex workers, drug users, gay men , men who have sex with men, transsexuals and prisoners – and their partners.

Overall, new HIV infections among young women (ages 15-24) fell by 25% between 2010 and 2018.

“This is good news, but of course it remains unacceptable for 6,000 adolescent girls and young women to be infected with HIV every week. Sexual and reproductive health and the rights of women and young people are often denied, “says Gunilla Carlsson.

Portuguese speaking countries

The study includes advances so that 90% of people with HIV are properly diagnosed by 2020, 90% of them receiving antiretroviral treatment and, of this group, 90% with undetectable viral load.

In the first indicator, Brazil, Cape Verde and Portugal have complied or are on track to meet the target. The latter two countries are also in the process of achieving the second indicator.

Brazil is cited as the only country on track to meet the goal of reaching 90% of people with undetectable viral load, which indicates success of the therapeutic method applied in the country.

Guinea-Bissau is mentioned in the study by the high number of women living with disabilities who are more likely to be seropositive than men in the same situation.

Mozambique is cited for success in community-based actions that can result in health rights in a low-income country with one of the world’s largest HIV epidemics and a number of public health challenges. Recent cyclones and the effect on the health system are pointed out in the report, which cites other aggravating factors such as extreme poverty, unequal access, scarcity and weak presence of health service providers.

Angola is one of seven countries where the number of infections has increased in children.

Population

The document shows that key populations and their sexual partners currently account for 54% of new HIV infections worldwide. In 2018, the group accounted for 95% of them, while the regions that needed more attention were Eastern and Central Europe, the Middle East and North Africa.

The study also reveals that less than 50% of key populations were reached with combined HIV prevention services, a problem reported in more than half of the countries surveyed. According to UNAIDS, this would be an indication that they are being marginalized and left behind in the response to HIV.