Monrovia – With the increase in the rate of infection of the HIV virus in Western and Central Africa, UNAIDS has disclosed its designed catch up plans with theme, “Putting HIV Treatment on the Fast Track by 2018.”
This is intended for people living with the virus to have access to treatment, tested voluntarily and to stop those living with virus from transmitting it.
At the Conference held in Dakar, Senegal, last October 2017, in which Liberia was a part, both English and French speaking journalists and UNAIDS Executive Directors from 26 African countries got together to brainstorm on a way forward in reducing the HIV rate in particularly Western and Central Africa.
According to Dr. Djibril Diallo, Regional Director of UNAIDS for Western and Central Africa and Senior Advisor to the Executive Director of UNAIDS, said at a time when the global response to HIV is accelerating, millions of people in Western and Central Africa are being left behind.
“There are about 6.5 million people living with the virus in Western and Central Africa.
"The gap shows 4.7 million people living with HIV are not receiving treatment, and 330,000 adults and children died from AIDS-related illness in 2015.
Therefore, we want to make sure that 50 percent of people living with the virus should have access to treatment by 2020. While 90 percent of the people living with the virus should have access to treatment, 90 percent of the people living with the virus should be voluntarily tested, while 90 percent of those who are treated should not transmit the virus to other people,” said Dr. Diallo.
According to Liberia Demographic and Health Survey (LDHS) from 2013 to 2016, UNAIDS states that with the population of 4.5 million, Liberia’s HIV prevalence rate increased from under two percent to 2.1 percent, meaning that at least 30,000 are living with the virus.
The United Nations specialized organ further stated that too many people living with HIV are not aware of their status; 56 percent of people living with HIV are not receiving lifesaving treatment; 500 children born are with HIV every year, viral suppression monitoring and adherence needs to be radically improved.
However, through its ambitious treatment target to help end the AIDS epidemic, UNAIDS says that by 2020, 90 percent of all people living with HIV will know their HIV status; 90 percent of all people with diagnosed HIV infection will receive sustained antiretroviral therapy; and 90 percent of all people receiving antiretroviral therapy will have viral suppression.