A new war aimed at wiping out the HIV/AIDS pandemic by the year 2030 has been planned by the World Health Organization (WHO).
This July, the WHO held an international AIDS conference in Durban where it was resolved that the pandemic will be wiped out by 2030.
This is to reaffirm the target set by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) in September 2014 setting its sight on using a new fast-track strategy to achieve that goal.
Statistically-speaking, an estimated 71 million people have been infected with HIV/AIDS since the beginning of the epidemic over 35 years ago and 34 million have died of HIV.
Globally, 36.9 million people were living with HIV at the end of 2014 according to the (WHO). In 2015, 36.7 million people live with HIV/AID. In December 2015, a recorded 17 million people living with HIV were accessing antiretroviral therapy up from 15.8 million in June 2015 and 7.5 million in 2010.
The UNAIDS strategy relies upon countries to accelerate their investments and deliver HIV services at higher rate especially antiretroviral therapy.
New HIV infections have fallen by 6% since 2010. Worldwide, 2.1 million people became newly infected with HIV in 2015 down from 2.2 million in 2010. At the same time, new infections among children have declined by 50% since 2010; a decline from 290,000 in 2010 to 150,000 in 2015.
Tuberculosis-related deaths among people living with HIV have fallen by 32% since 2004. At the same time, tuberculosis remains the leading cause of death among people living with HIV, accounting for around one in three AIDS-related deaths.
In 2014, the percentage of identified HIV-positive tuberculosis patients who started or continued on antiretroviral therapy reached 77%.
The UNAIDS introduced and placed emphasizes on a “90-90-90” target, where 90% of people living with HIV are enabled to know their HIV status, 90% of people who know their status to have access to HIV treatment in addition to 90% of people on HIV treatment to achieve viral suppression.
These ambitious goals yet worthy will require greater investment not only in antiretroviral therapies, rapid viral load testing kits but also in strengthening fragile health systems.
At the end of 2014, US$19.2 billion was invested in AIDS response in low and middle-income countries while domestic resources constituted 57% of the total resources for HIV in the same countries in 2014.
Recent updated UNAIDS estimates indicate that US$26.2 billion will be required for the AIDS response in 2020, with US$23.9 billion required in 2030.
Great emphasis lays in financing better health infrastructures, building laboratories and most importantly investments in health workers, greater question is, on whose shoulders will this burden fall of reaching the most at-risk population in underserved communities.
U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon stated; “The AIDS response has delivered more than results.” The Secretary General added: “It has delivered the aspirations and the practical foundation to end the epidemic by 2030. But if we accept the status quo unchanged, the epidemic will rebound in several low and middle-income countries. Our tremendous investment, and the world’s most inspiring movement for the right to health, will have been in vain.”
In parallel, physicians and researchers from Nigeria’s oldest and most prestigious university, the University of Ibadan have discovered a tested cure for HIV virus.
The team of researchers who found this cure in pilot studies, Dr. Onifade Abdulfattah Adekunle of the Immunology unit, College of Medicine, as well as Dr. Jewell AP from India, and Dr. Adedeji WA, converted several patients from an HIV positive status to a negative one in four months after first eliminating most symptoms of AIDS in the first three weeks on the remedy.
The cure which is derived from the Nigella Sativa aka Black Seed has been promised according to Muslim scripture to “hold a cure to every disease except death,” in a statement credited to Prophet Muhammed (PBUH).
Their studies were published in the African Journal Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicine and the Journal of Herbal Medicine.
Rethinking the Strategy
Muslim communities are urged rethinking strategies with respect for social, cultural and religious values. Omar Sey, Minister of Health and Social Welfare of the Muslim country Gambia, said his country had banned female genital mutilation and domesticated gender equality in line with the Maputo Protocol of the Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa.
Women had better health-seeking behavior than men, which has reduced the number of babies born with HIV. They also played a role in economic growth and could be an engine for ending poverty, which was a root cause of HIV/AIDS.
Mr. Jagat Prakash Nadda, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare of India, acknowledged India’s role as the “Pharmacy of the World” was well recognized, with more than 85% of the generic antiretroviral drugs used globally coming from the country.
The government was committed to a partnership with the industry to ensure accessibility of low-cost drugs in line with the Doha Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health.
UNAIDS estimates global HIV funding totaled US$ 20.2 billion in 2014. This total is below the US$22 to 24 billion the organization indicated it needed to deal with the epidemic while even more is needed for the 2020 and 2030 targets.