HIV, a major global public health issue -WHO

Commemorating the world AIDS day, today, December the 1st, 2020, the World Health Organisation says HIV continues to be a major global public health issue, having claimed almost 33 million lives so far.

“However, with increasing access to effective HIV prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and care, including for opportunistic infections, HIV infection has become a manageable chronic health condition, enabling people living with HIV to lead long and healthy lives

“There were an estimated 38.0 million people living with HIV at the end of 2019.

“As a result of concerted international efforts to respond to HIV, coverage of services has been steadily increasing. In 2019, 68 percent of adults and 53 percent of children living with HIV globally were receiving lifelong antiretroviral therapy,” the world health body said.

It added that a great majority (85 percent) of pregnant and breastfeeding women living with HIV also received ART, which not only protects their health but also ensures the prevention of HIV transmission to their newborns.

“However, not everyone is able to access HIV testing, treatment, and care. Notably, the 2018 Super-Fast-Track targets for reducing new paediatric HIV infections to 40,000 was not achieved. Global targets for 2020 are at risk of being missed unless rapid action is taken.

According to the World Health Organisation, Several studies confirmed that if an HIV-positive person is taking ART and is virally suppressed, they do not transmit HIV to their uninfected sexual partners.

WHO recommended that all people living with HIV should be offered ART with the main aim of saving lives and contributing to reducing HIV transmission.

The 2018 Nigeria HIV/AIDS Indicator and Impact Survey shows that the prevalence of HIV among adults age 15-64 years was 1.4 percent, 1.8 percent among females, and 1.0 percent among males.

The survey also shows that the prevalence of HIV among children age 0-14 years was 0.1 percent.

“Prevalence of viral load suppression among PLHIV age 15-64 years in Nigeria was 43.1 percent, 45.5 percent among females and 38.8 percent among males.

“HIV prevalence was the highest among females age 35-39 years at 3.1 percent and the highest among males age 50-54 years at 2.3 percent. The HIV prevalence gender disparity between females and males was greatest among younger adults, with females age 35-39 years (3.1 percent) having 2 times the prevalence of males in the same age group (1.4 percent).

“Among adults age 15-64 years, HIV prevalence by state ranged from 4.8 percent in Akwa-Ibom and Benue States to 0.3 percent in Jigawa and Katsina States.

“VLS among PLHIV was the highest among males age 55- 64 years at 52.3 percent and the highest among females age 45-54 years at 53.7 percent. The VLS gender disparity between females and males was greatest among those aged 0-14 years, with females age 0-14 years (31.7 percent) almost 3 times more likely to have viral suppression compared to males in the same age group (10.6 percent),” the survey stated.

According to the survey, 90 percent of PLHIV are expected to know their status by 2020, 90 percent diagnosed with HIV infection will receive sustained Antiretroviral Therapy and 90 percent of all people receiving ART will have viral suppression.

“The diagnosis carried out among PLHIV aged 15-64 years, 46.9 percent self-reported knowing their HIV Status or had detectable ARVs in their blood, 40.9 percent of males and 50.3 percent of females,” it noted.

On treatment, the data shows that among PLHIV age 15-64 years who knew their HIV status, 96.4 percent self-reported being on ART or had detectable ARVs in the blood, 97.8 percent of males and 95.8 percent of females.

On suppressed Viral Load, the survey showed that of those PLHIV who self-reported being on ART or had detectable ARVs in the blood, 80.9 percent were virally suppressed, 79.2 percent males and 81.7 percent females.

SOURCE: The PunchNG

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