This is according to a new report released yesterday on World Aids Day by Doctors Without Borders, which said that delays in responding quickly to treatment failures and interruptions jeopardise progress in reducing HIV deaths. The report, No Time to Lose, spans 15 countries in Africa and Asia, and presents a dashboard of where countries are in terms of policies, implementation and funding to address advanced HIV, which killed 770 000 people worldwide last year.
“There is no way the world will reach the target of less than 500000 Aids deaths in 2020, without decisive action on dealing with retention to care, treatment interruptions and resulting mortality,” said MSF senior HIV adviser Dr Gilles van Cutsem.
“In the past, the very sick patients we saw were those who did not know they had HIV. Today we see more and more people who have been treated before, but stopped taking their medication and fell seriously ill, and people whose treatment stopped working.”
Deputy director of the Desmond Tutu HIV Centre at the Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine, UCT, Linda-Gail Bekker, said there is still a stigma attached to HIV/Aids. “One would think that 35 years on, now that we have treatments, it really is a chronic condition and people live as long as they've ever lived before, that this (stigma) would have got less or even gone away, but actually the stigma remains.”