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Ukraine provides HIV treatment for more that 80% HIV-positive children

© UNICEF/ UKRAINE/ 2010/ G.Pirozzi

GENEVA / NAIROBI / WASHINGTON D.C., 28 September 2010 - Significant progress has been made in several low- and middle-income countries in increasing access to HIV/AIDS services, according to a new report released today.

Full report is available here

The report Towards Universal Access by the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF, and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) is the fourth annual report for tracking progress made in achieving the 2010 target of providing universal access to HIV prevention, treatment and care.

The report assessed HIV/AIDS progress in 144 low- and middle-income countries in 2009 and found that 14 countries, including Brazil, Ukraine and Namibia, provided HIV treatment to more than 80 per cent of the HIV-positive children in need;

"Countries in all parts of the world are demonstrating that universal access is achievable," said Dr Hiroki Nakatani, WHO's Assistant Director-General for HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, Malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases. "But globally, it remains an unfulfilled commitment. And we must join forces to make it a worldwide reality in the coming years."

In 2009, 5.25 million people had access to HIV treatment in low- and middle-income countries, accounting for 36 per cent of those in need. This represents an increase of over 1.2 million people from December 2008, the largest increase in any single year. In Europe and Central Asia– number of people started on ART covers 19 per cent of those in need.

Challenges in delivering universal access
Obstacles to scaling up HIV treatment persist in most countries, including funding shortages, limited human resources, and weak procurement and supply management systems for HIV drugs and diagnostics and other health systems bottlenecks. One third of countries reported at least one or more cases when supply of HIV medicines had been interrupted in 2009.

Prevention efforts to reach most-at-risk populations such as sex workers, drug users, and men who have sex with men are limited. For example, only about one third of injecting drug users in reporting countries were reached with HIV prevention programmes in 2009.

© UNICEF/ UKRAINE/ 2010/ G.Pirozzi

Availability and safety of blood and blood products continue to be a concern for HIV prevention, especially in low-income countries. While 99 per cent and 85 per cent of blood donations in high- and middle-income countries, respectively, were screened in a quality-assured manner in 2009, in low-income countries the comparable figure was 48 per cent.

Results from population surveys in ten countries showed more than 60 per cent of HIV-positive people did not know their HIV status. As a result, many patients start treatment too late. Around 18 per cent of patients initiating treatment were lost to follow-up during the first year, a large proportion of them dying due to late initiation of treatment.

Women and children
Steady progress was seen in access to prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) services. A record 53 per cent of pregnant women who needed PMTCT services received them globally in 2009. But still many pregnant women and their infants lacked access to these timely interventions. Care for infants and children require highest attention. Global treatment coverage for HIV positive children was 28 per cent in 2009, a notable progress, but the rate is lower than the ART coverage for adults (36 per cent). And only 15 per cent of children born to HIV-positive mothers were receiving appropriate infant diagnostics.

"Every day, more than 1,000 infants acquire HIV during pregnancy, delivery and breastfeeding. We know how to prevent this," says Jimmy Kolker, Chief of HIV and AIDS of UNICEF. "While many countries are now showing significant progress, intensified efforts are urgently needed to reach all mothers and children with the most effective treatment and PMTCT interventions for their own health and for the sake of their communities."

Steps towards universal access beyond 2010

The report called for a clear set of actions to be taken by the international community including:

  • renewing political and funding commitments to achieve universal access to HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and care;
  • improving integration and linkages between HIV/AIDS and related services such as tuberculosis, maternal and child health, sexual health and harm reduction for drug users;
  • strengthening health systems to achieve broader public health outcomes; and
  • taking bold measures to address legal and structural barriers that increase HIV vulnerability, particularly for most-at-risk populations.

Visit also UNICEF new web-site on HIV/AIDS

About UNICEF: The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is the world’s leader for children, working on the ground in 150 countries to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments. UNICEF opened its office in Kyiv in 1997.

For further information, to arrange an interview or to obtain a copy of the report, please contact:
Roshan Khadivi (in Washington D.C), Tel: +1 917 478 2574,E-mail: rkhadivi@unicef.org
Veronika Vashchenko, UNICEF Kyiv, + 43 699 181 496 93 or +38 050 388 2951, vvashchenko@unicef.org

 

 
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