FM Ashkenazi meets with Cypriot FM Nikos Christodoulides

FM Ashkenazi meets with Cypriot FM …

FM Ashkenazi: Israel and ...

MFA hosts virtual conference on digital diplomacy during the corona crisis

MFA hosts virtual conference on dig…

Some 150 participants wil...

PM Netanyahu chairs Corona Cabinet meeting

PM Netanyahu chairs Corona Cabinet …

The goal of the policy is...

Israel marks Memorial Day for the fallen soldiers and victims of terrorism

Israel marks Memorial Day for the f…

Remembrance Day, Yom Hazi...

President Rivlin and FM Katz host reception for the diplomatic and consular corps in Israel

President Rivlin and FM Katz host r…

President Rivlin: Althoug...

Special Holy Fire ceremony held during the coronavirus outbreak

Special Holy Fire ceremony held dur…

The traditional Holy Fire...

PM Netanyahu addresses the ceremony marking Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Day

PM Netanyahu addresses the ceremony…

Prime Minister Benjamin N...

Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Day 20-21 April 2020

Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Reme…

The official Opening Cere...

Briefing for foreign ambassadors on Coronavirus management and cooperation with the Palestinians

Briefing for foreign ambassadors on…

During the briefing, the ...

Yad L'Achim Opens Hotline for Assistance from Experienced Psychologists, Social Workers

Yad L'Achim Opens Hotline for Assis…

Confused? Under Pressure?...

Prev Next
A+ A A-

Early Treatment for HIV Can Save Millions of Lives

  • Published in Health


Lisa Schlein

GENEVA — The World Health Organization says early treatment for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, can save millions of lives.

WHO is issuing new treatment guidelines for people infected with HIV as a major international AIDS Conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia gets under way.

The World Health Organization reports earlier antiretroviral therapy - ART - could avert an additional 3 million deaths and prevent 3.5 million more new HIV infections between now and 2025.

WHO says recent evidence indicates that treating people with HIV earlier, with safe, affordable and easier-to-manage medicines will help them live longer, healthier lives. Because the medication lowers the amount of virus in the blood, WHO says this will greatly reduce the risk of transmitting the HIV infection to others.

Use of lifesaving drugs on the rise

Coordinator of WHO’s HIV-AIDS Department, Gundo Weiler, says 9.7 million people were taking lifesaving antiretroviral drugs at the end of 2012, an amazing increase from the figure of 300,000 10 years ago. He says the increase in the use of ART drugs is making a huge impact on the lives of individuals and on the AIDS epidemic.

Weiler says, “Over the last decade, the scale-up of antiretroviral treatment in low and middle income countries has averted more than four million deaths-4.2 million deaths exactly-and also, it has averted more than 800,000 infections among children due to the prevention of mother and child transmission…Antiretroviral treatment is not only good for the health of the person who is taking the treatment, but it also reduces the likelihood of transmission. So, the scale-up of ART has an effect on the HIV epidemic together with all the other prevention efforts.”

WHO reports 32 million people are living with HIV and 1.7 million people died of AIDS-related causes in 2011. Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest burden of HIV. WHO notes treatment coverage has increased in every region of the world, with Africa leading the way. It says four of five people in sub-Saharan Africa started treatment in 2012.

While progress is being made, United Nations health officials are concerned that some groups of people who need treatment are not getting it. It notes fewer children than adults are receiving ART, with only one in three children receiving them.

They say other groups susceptible to getting the disease, including injecting drug users, men who have sex with men, and sex workers have less access to antiretroviral therapy. They say it is important to reach these people who are stigmatized and excluded from services.

WHO steps up recommendations

The new WHO recommendations call for antiretroviral therapy to be provided to all children with HIV under five years of age, to pregnant and breastfeeding women with HIV, as well as to all HIV-positive partners where one partner in the relationship is uninfected.

Director of WHO's HIV-AIDS Department, Gottfried Hirnschall, says people starting treatment today have a much easier regimen to follow than in the past.

“Ten years ago, there were many tablets several times a day," says Hirnschall. "People started late when they got sick when they started. We are now at a single tablet, once a day, early in the infection. That is the new paradigm shift. It will keep people alive, healthy, for long periods of time and it will also prevent that people can transmit the infection to their partners, to whoever they engage sexually or through other means.”

Hirnschall says the price of HIV drugs for developing countries has been drastically reduced to an average of $140 per person per year. The same drug in wealthy countries, he says can run to $10,000 or more a year.

The U.N. health agency recommends a more integrated approach in the treatment of HIV. It says HIV services should be more closely linked with other health services, such as those for tuberculosis, maternal and child health, sexual and reproductive health, and treatment for drug dependence.


Global AIDS Conference Wraps Up

  • Published in Health


Researchers at the conference presented findings that highlight the benefits of treating HIV at the early stages of infection


Suzanne Presto
WASHINGTON D.C. — The 19th International AIDS Conference drew to a close in Washington, D.C., on Friday.

Under the banner of "Turning the Tide Together," more than 20,000 delegates attended the six-day gathering, where speakers ranged from famous entertainers to high-level politicians to people working on the front lines of AIDS research.

Former U.S. president Bill Clinton addressed the conference's final session.

He said treating HIV-positive patients in some African countries is less costly than previously thought. His organization, the Clinton Foundation, recently completed a cost study in several African countries, including Ethiopia, Malawi, Rwanda and Zambia.

"Treatment costs an average of just $200 per patient per year. That includes the cost of drugs, diagnostic tests, personnel and outpatient costs. There is no excuse for failing to provide treatment to the remaining 10 million people in need."

He also highlighted the logistical challenges of battling HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

"To eliminate mother-to-child transmission, we need to test and treat women earlier and keep them on the treatment longer throughout the entire period of breastfeeding, when many of them live miles and miles and miles from the place where they get their medicine today," he said.

Clinton said he has spoken to healthcare workers who say there is not enough funding for pregnant women and mothers.

The United States says it is donating an additional $80 million to help eliminate mother-to-child infections by 2015.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton addressed the conference earlier in the week, saying the United States is committed to achieving an AIDS-free generation.

"We will not back off; we will not back down. We will fight for the resources to achieve this historic milestone."

Researchers at the conference presented findings that highlight the benefits of treating HIV at the early stages of infection. One such study featured a group of HIV-positive patients in France. With early treatment, they could be taken off antiretroviral drugs and show no signs of a resurgence of their HIV infection.

Michel Sidibe, the executive director of the United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS said there needs to be more cure research.

"Today we should not just say, 'okay, let us have treatment.' We should say, 'why not a cure? Why not a vaccine?' That is the area where we need to put our energy, and that will bring us certainly to the end of this epidemic," he said.

Activists disrupted sessions and panels to demand greater funding and resources for research and for those living with HIV and AIDS. "We can end AIDS! We can end AIDS!" were among the slogans heard at the gathering.

A conference attendee living with HIV told VOA that he finds the activism invigorating.

"That's what this is all about. It's all about getting up and getting angry again," he said.

The 19th International AIDS conference was held in the United States for the first time in 22 years, after President Barack Obama lifted restrictions on HIV-positive people entering the country.

Conference organizers say there are still 46 countries, territories and areas that impose HIV-related travel restrictions.

The 20th International AIDS Conference will be held in Melbourne, Australia, in July 2014.


Despite progress, efforts must be redoubled to end HIV/AIDS epidemic – UN officials

  • Published in Health


UN, Despite the tremendous progress that has been achieved in the response to HIV/AIDS, it is urgent that efforts be redoubled to end this global epidemic, top United Nations officials stressed today, highlighting in particular the need to expand services and scale up resources. 

“Together we must act strategically and effectively to achieve the vision of a world with zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths,” the General Assembly President, Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, said in remarks to an Assembly meeting held to review progress following last year’s high-level meeting on HIV and AIDS.
In the remarks, delivered by Acting President and Ambassador of Benin Jean-Francis Zinsou, Mr. Al-Nasser said that the world is “riding a wave of renewed hope and accelerating progress against HIV.”
There have been dramatic reductions in new infections in the hardest-hit countries, and among young people worldwide, as well as a scaling up of treatments in low- and middle-income countries in the past decade, he noted.
“Yet, critical challenges remain,” the President added, stating that HIV still disproportionately affects vulnerable populations, and funding is in decline, threatening the ability of the world community to sustain necessary progress.
“We must ensure that the commitments that were made are implemented, so that we can re-direct the course of the epidemic, and avert future costs to society,” he said.
At last year’s high-level meeting, Member States adopted a political declaration committing themselves to ambitious new targets to combat HIV/ AIDS, with the aim of ridding the world of a disease that has claimed more than 30 million lives since the virus was first identified three decades ago.
Member States pledged to deliver antiretroviral therapy to 15 million people living with HIV; work towards eliminating new infections in children and substantially reducing maternal AIDS-related deaths; reduce by 50 per cent new infections from sexual transmission and among people who inject drugs; substantially increase HIV funding, with the goal of mobilizing $22 billion to $24 billion annually; meet the needs of women and girls; and eliminate stigma and discrimination.
“Today the international community has cause for hope and optimism in the response,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon wrote in his first report on the issues arising from that session – and issued in April this year – while also highlighting the many challenges that remain.
Substantial access gaps persist for key services, with especially difficult obstacles experienced by populations at higher risk, he noted. Punitive laws, gender inequality, violence against women and other human rights violations continue to undermine national responses. Of special concern is the first-ever decline in HIV funding in 2010, potentially jeopardizing the capacity of the international community to close access gaps and sustain progress in the coming years.
“Efforts must be refocused to achieve real results and end a global epidemic of historic proportions,” he wrote. “The response must be smarter and more strategic, streamlined, efficient and grounded in human rights.”
In his remarks to the Assembly meeting today, Mr. Ban emphasized the need to do more “to win the race,” stressing the need to cut the number of new HIV infections by one million by 2015, reach out to people at risk, focus on the special needs of women and children, combat discrimination, and strengthen funding for critical efforts.
“Last year marked the thirtieth anniversary of struggle against AIDS – but we were not looking back; we were looking to a future where all people get the prevention and treatment services they need,” he told Member States.

Subscribe to this RSS feed


Jewish Traditions

About Us



Follow Us