News ID: 196999
Published: 0618 GMT July 21, 2017

Aids deaths halve as more get drugs

Aids deaths halve as more get drugs

Deaths linked to Aids have halved in a decade, official figures showed.

The condition, which is caused by HIV, used to be one of the top 10 causes of death worldwide, BBC wrote.

A report by the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/Aids (UNAids) showed deaths had fallen from a peak of 1.9 million in 2005 to one million last year.

It said the ‘scales have tipped’, with more than half of people getting drug treatment for the first time.

An HIV infection cannot be cured — it can only be contained with daily doses of antiretroviral therapy.

Unchecked, it destroys the immune system, causing Aids. At this point people tend to die from other ‘opportunistic infections’ such as tuberculosis.

Worldwide, 36.7 million are living with HIV and 53 percent of them are getting the therapy that gives a near-normal life expectancy.

Michel Sidibe, the executive director of UNAids, said: "We met the 2015 target of 15 million people on treatment and we are on track to double that number to 30 million and meet the 2020 target.

"We will continue to scale up to reach everyone in need and honor our commitment of leaving no-one behind."

UNAids said eastern and southern Africa were ‘leading the way’ and had cut new HIV infections by nearly a third since 2010.

Life expectancy has increased by 10 years over the past decade too.

The agency has set a series of goals known as the 90-90-90 targets.

The aim is for 90 percent of people with HIV to be diagnosed, 90 percent of those to get therapy and 90 percent of those to have their infection suppressed, by 2020.

In 2016 the figures were 70 percent, 77 percent and 82 percent respectively.

Sidibe added: "Communities and families are thriving as Aids is being pushed back."

However, the agency warned that inadequate treatment in north Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Eastern Europe had seen death rates increase sharply.

   
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