Global Fund provides treatment to millions

HARARE - Ahead of next week’s International Aids conference in Durban, South Africa, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria yesterday released results that show a significant increase in the number of people being treated for HIV.

The results indicate that the Global Fund partnership had provided lifesaving HIV treatment to 9,2 million people by the end of 2015 — an additional 100 000 people each month since mid-2015.

“In Abidjan, in April, the Global Fund Board approved a strategy that will deliver impact even further by focusing on women and girls, key populations, resilient and sustainable systems for health, and mobilising resources for prevention, treatment and care,” said Norbert Hauser, chair of the board.

Mark Dybul, executive director of the Global Fund, added: “We are tremendously inspired by many partners who have come together and saved the lives of millions of people. However, we cannot let up. New HIV infections among adults are too high. We must invest more in prevention, including in programmes to reduce human rights and gender-related barriers.”

There has been a dramatic increase in people on HIV treatment since 2000, when leaders, activists and scientists first gathered in Durban, South Africa, to demand that world leaders do more to treat people with HIV.

At the time, only 770 000 of 29 million people living with HIV had access to treatment. The cost of HIV treatment was about $10 000 per year, per person and was out of reach for most people around the world.

Today, the treatment costs less than $100 per person, per year, and a total of 17 million people are accessing anti-retroviral treatment across the world.

The new results show a rise in all other HIV-related interventions supported by Global Fund partnership in the last six months of 2015.

The number of pregnant women receiving anti-retroviral medicines to prevent the transmission of HIV to their unborn children grew from 3,3 million to 3,6 million.

The number of HIV counselling and testing sessions increased from 472 million to 509 million.

The results also show significant progress in the fight against tuberculosis, a disease inextricably linked to HIV infection, and malaria.

Over the same period, 59 million new insecticide-treated nets were distributed, taking the total number of nets distributed through Global Fund-supported programme to date to 659 million.

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