UN report: Malaysia among 10 top nations affected by HIV infection

UNITED NATIONS, NEW YORK: Malaysia is one of the ten countries which together accounted for over 95% of all new HIV infections in the Asia-Pacific region, a report issued by the United Nations says.

The report, compiled by the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) “Ending AIDS: Progress Towards the 90-90 Targets”, said the other nine Asia-Pacific countries that had large constituencies of new HIV infections in 2016 are India, China, Indonesia, Pakistan, Vietnam, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines and Thailand.

It also contains an extensive analysis of the targets set for 2020 when 90% of all HIV-infected people should know their status, 90% of all HIV-diagnosed people should be able to access anti retroviral therapy (ART) and 90% of those taking ART are virally suppressed.

For the first time in the fight against AIDS, more than half of all people living with the HIV virus now have access to treatment while deaths caused by AIDS had been reduced by nearly 50% since 2005, according to the report.

Based on the report, HIV infections in these ten countries occurred mainly among sex workers and their customers, gay men and other men who had sex with men, people using drugs by injections, transgender people and others.

However, one silver lining spotted in the region is that the annual figures of new HIV infection showed a 13% decline during the last six years – from some 310,000 in 2010 to 270,000 in 2016.

Another encouraging development, according to the report, is that some 19.5 million of the world’s 36.7 million HIV-infected people had access to treatment, which showed AIDS-related deaths declining from 1.9 million in 2005 to one million.

The target is to put 30 million people worldwide on treatment by 2020, according to the report. — Bernama