Report: When It Comes To AIDS, Knowledge Is Power
The NGO says it wants to share the bad news first. Researchers shared that in West and Central Africa, just getting tested for AIDS is still a challenge.
More encouraging news, as of 2017, 75% of people living with the HIV virus knew their status. That’s a significant increase compared to the 66% of people who knew their status in 2015.
Also, the number of people living with “virally suppressed” forms of the disease, meaning practically undetectable has also risen sharply.
However, the group’s Executive Director, Michel Sidibé, said there is still a lot of work to be done. Despite more awareness, researchers believe there are still an estimated 9.4 million people infected with HIV who do not know their status.
“To reach the millions who do not know their status, we need universal access to HIV testing services. HIV testing should be as widely available as pregnancy testing,” Sidibé shared.
Meanwhile, Sidibé said there are technological advances made recently that are changing the landscape of AIDS and HIV.
“In the past few years, we have seen incredible innovations become available that are helping to revolutionize the AIDS response,” Sidibé explained. “But technology alone will not be enough to ensure that people can access the HIV testing services they need. Stigma and discrimination must be confronted wherever it is experienced. “HIV testing gives people the knowledge they need to make choices – choices on the right options for treatment and prevention… Let’s ensure that everyone has that power.”
“Health is a human rights imperative and we are deeply concerned about the lack of political commitment and the failure to invest in proven HIV programmes, particularly for young people and key populations,” Sidibé said in a press release. “If countries think they can treat their way out of their epidemics, they are dangerously mistaken.”