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PAHO urges testing as first step towards halting the AIDS epidemic

03 December 2018
PAHO urges testing as first step towards halting the AIDS epidemic

According to World Health Organization 1 in 4 people with HIV don't know they have it, so know your risk and know your status.

"World AIDS Day reminds us that despite these gains, 1 in 4 people with HIV in the Region still don't know they have it, have not begun treatment and are therefore at greater risk of dying prematurely and infecting others". Approximately 1.8 million people became newly infected with HIV in 2017 and sadly 940, 000 people died from AIDS-related illnesses in the same year as they might not know they have HIV, aren't on treatment or start treatment too late. "Or they are afraid of being stigmatized as a person with HIV if they are found to be positive", said Yoann Maldonado, general coordinator for Doctors of the World.

On December 1, the global society observes the World AIDS day.

Based on the latest data by UNAIDS 36.9 million people globally were living with HIV in 2017.

"Reducing new HIV infections is key to accelerating the response to HIV/AIDS in the Americas", said Dr. Espinal.

The group and other NGOs send volunteers into the field to survey people and convince them to get tested. Stigma and discrimination still deters people from taking an HIV test. Access to confidential HIV testing is still an issue of concern. It has also pledged to enable 90% of HIV positive people in the country know their status on treatment and provide 90% of those on treatment experience with effective viral load suppression.

In 2018, a report by the National AIDS Control Program revealed new HIV infections in Ghana have recorded an alarming 70.15% increase in just one year.

"This is a particular challenge for young people, with an estimated 700 adolescents being newly infected with HIV every day".

"In the hardest-hit countries, girls account for more than 80% of all new HIV infections among adolescents".

PAHO/WHO also recommends that the age at which young people can take an HIV test without the consent of a parent or guardian be reduced in line with the recommendations of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Besides, more than three in five people are accessing life-saving antiretroviral therapy.