A new report from UNAIDS shows that intensified HIV testing and.treatment efforts are reaching more people living with HIV.
In 2017, three quarters of people living with HIV 75 per cent knew their HIV status, compared to just two thirds, 67 per cent in 2015, and 21.7 million people living with HIV 59 per cent had access to antiretroviral therapy, up from 17.2 million in 2015.
The report, Knowledge is power, reveals that although the number of people living with HIV who are virally suppressed has risen by around
10 percentage points in the past three years, reaching 47 per cent in.2017, 19.4 million people living with HIV still do not have a suppressed viral load.
Health Reporters gathered that to remain healthy and to prevent transmission, the virus needs to be suppressed to undetectable or very low levels through sustained antiretroviral therapy.
While to effectively monitor viral load, people living with HIV need access to viral load testing every 12 months.
“Viral load testing is the gold standard in HIV treatment monitoring,” said Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS. “It shows that
treatment is working, keeping people alive and well and keeping the virus firmly under control.”
The report outlines that access to viral load testing is mixed. In some parts of the world, getting a viral load test is easy and is fully integrated into a person’s HIV treatment regime, but in other places there may be only one viral load machine for the entire country.
“Viral load monitoring needs to be as available in Lilongwe as it is in London,” said Mr Sidibé. “HIV testing and viral load testing should be equal and accessible to all people living with HIV, without
In Côte d’Ivoire, the United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief is supporting a national scale-up plan for viral load testing. In just three years, as the number of people on treatment
doubled, 10 additional laboratories began viral load testing. Subsequently, viral load testing coverage increased from 14 per cent in 2015 to 66 per cent in 2017 and is projected to reach 75 per cent by the end of 2018.
“This year’s UNAIDS theme for World AIDS Day (Live life positively—know your HIV status) reiterates the fact that HIV testing remains the only way to know your status and to adopt a healthy life plan,” said Eugène Aka Aouele, Minister of Health and Public Hygiene, Côte d’Ivoire.