Sub-Saharan Africa still continues to bear much of the burden of HIV. Of the 33.3 million people living with the virus, 22.5 million (68%) live in sub-Saharan Africa and 72% of HIV-related deaths in 2009 occurred in this region.
The good news though is that the rate of new HIV infections has now stabilised or decreased in many countries, including key sub-Saharan countries. However – in other regions, such as Eastern Europe and Central Asia, the incidence of HIV has increased.
Globally, women and girls represent slightly more than 50% of people living with HIV, for a number of complex biological, cultural and social reasons. Protecting their health is of major importance. Other marginalised groups vulnerable to HIV infection include infants and children, youth, sex workers, injecting drug users, men who have sex with men (MSM), transgender and gay men. Only by reaching out effectively to such groups will we realise the UNAID’s vision of zero new HIV infections, zero AIDS-related deaths and zero discrimination.
Clearly we have come a long way since the first cases of AIDS were recognised in the 1980s. But there is much more to be done. Although more than 5 million people are now receiving HIV treatment, it’s estimated that a further 10 million people are eligible but not receiving treatment. Discrimination and stigmatisation as a barrier to people accessing the treatment and care that they need still need to be addressed. In addition, as people are living longer and aging with HIV, we are facing new medical, psychological and social challenges.
Whilst some of these challenges faced by people living with HIV are the same throughout the world, that there are also particular challenges that PLWHIV face in the developed world. Many people living with HIV in the US and EU have been on antiretroviral therapy for a long time now, and this brings new challenges, such as managing resistance and long-term comorbidities both from the virus and the treatments that they are taking. People are aging with HIV – and this has important implications for therapy, management and care decisions for them and their treating healthcare practitioners.
Through its products, its programmes and its ways of working, ViiV Healthcare is committed to tackling these challenges in an effort to bring long-term, effective solutions to those whose lives are touched by HIV.
Source: UNAIDS global report 2010