Poverty raises chances of ill health, says UNAIDS


THE UNAIDS says being poor not only increases a person’s chances of ill health but more likely to push one deeper into poverty owing to high costs of healthcare. And the UNAIDS reveals that HIV remains among the top ten leading causes of death among adolescents aged between 10 and 19 years.

Meanwhile, UNAIDS executive director Michel Sidibé says the global AIDS response is at a precarious point.

According to its 2018 Global AIDS update ‘Miles to Go: Closing Gaps, Breaking Barriers, Righting Injustices’, the UNAIDS has stated that universal health coverage programmes had been established in only a few low and middle-income countries, and health insurance coverage among low-income individuals remained extremely low.

“Being poor not only increases a person’s chances of ill health; the cost of health care is more likely to push that person deeper into poverty…private out-of-pocket spending accounts for more than 60 per cent of total health expenditure in some low- and middle-income countries. User fees deter access to HIV services, increase inequities, and impoverish entire households affected by HIV and increase AIDS-related morbidity and mortality. Even if antiretroviral medicines are available free of charge, fees for diagnostic tests, consultations and medicines for opportunistic infection have a huge impact on lower-income individuals,” the UNAIDS update reveals.
The UNAIDS added that restrictive laws and policies, including age of consent laws and adult-oriented HIV services that are perceived as intimidating and of poor quality, discourage youth HIV service uptake.

“Once enrolled in care, young people aged 15-19 years are more likely than adults to drop out. There is a pressing need to develop strategies to improve adherence among this high-priority population,” the UNAIDS stated.
Sidibé said partial success in saving lives and stopping new HIV infections was giving way to complacency.

“At the halfway point to the 2020 targets, the pace of progress is not matching the global ambition. This report is a wake-up call-action now can still put us back on course to reach the 2020 targets,” he said.

Sidibé added that the pace of progress was not matching the global ambition. He, however, revealed that the number of AIDS-related deaths is the lowest this century, with fewer than 1 million people dying each year from AIDS-related illnesses due to sustained access to antiretroviral therapy.
“Three out of four people living with HIV now know their status-the first step to getting treatment. And now a record 21.7 million people are on treatment-a net increase of 2.3 million people since the end of 2016. The scale-up of access to treatment should not be taken for granted, though. In the next three years an additional 2.8 million people must be added each year, but there are no new commitments to increase resources, there is an acute shortage of health-care workers and there is continuing stigma and discrimination. There is a prevention crisis,” said Sidibé.

“The success in saving lives has not been matched with equal success in reducing new HIV infections. New HIV infections are not falling fast enough. HIV prevention services are not being provided on an adequate scale and with sufficient intensity and are not reaching the people who need them the most.  Acceptance of condoms, voluntary medical male circumcision, pre-exposure prophylaxis, cash transfers must be increased rapidly and not be secondary prevention tools. And I wait the day when there is a functional cure and a vaccine against HIV.”

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