22 Nov 2016 10:30am
WINDHOEK, 22 NOV (NAMPA) Over 18 million people around the world are on antiretroviral (ARV) treatment, United Nations (UN) Under Secretary-General Michel Sidibé has revealed.
Sidibé, who is also the executive director of the United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), said this Monday during the launch of the UNAIDS report that, among others, contains statistics on global ARV treatment.
The report entitled Get on the Fast-Track: The life-cycle approach to HIV notes that there are still many people in need of ARV treatment but who do not have access to the life-saving medication.
Sidibé stressed that of the people with access to the medication, 910 000 are children.
He noted that there is thus a need to sustain and increase efforts that will be on track to achieve the target of 30 million people on ARV treatment by 2030.
Sidibé said there is also a need to have a local industry that produces affordable and quality medicine on the African continent.
The report revealed that girls transition to womanhood is a risky process, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Sidibé noted that young women are at the risk of HIV infection, have low rates of HIV testing, and have poor adherence to treatment.
He said progress made is remarkable, particularly around treatment, but it is also incredibly fragile.
New threats are emerging and if we do not act now we risk resurgence and resistance. We have seen this with tuberculosis (TB). We must not make the same mistakes again, he said.
Speaking at the same occasion, Minister of Health and Social Services Bernard Haufiku noted that Namibia has about 150 000 people on ARV treatment; however about 95 per cent of babies born to HIV positive mothers are HIV free.
We commit to allocating 35 per cent of all our HIV funding to prevention programmes, Haufiku said.
The report was launched by President Hage Geingob who thanked the UN for choosing Namibia to launch the global report.