Getting to “2030 Without AIDS” is Moving Farther Away (Part I)
The COVID-19 pandemic came to put a break on the commitment to reach “2030 without AIDS”. Commitments made in Mexico City, in the First Latin American Forum on HIV and AIDS (2014) are in question due to the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had and will have on the health system’s response to HIV and AIDS; aggravated by the increase of 22 million poor people in the last year in the Region of the Americas and the Caribbean, according to data provided by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean -ECLAC-.
The UNAIDS Confronting Inequalities Report (2021), revealed that 1.5 million new infections occurred predominantly among the key population and their sexual partners, which means 65% of the global total. It is important to make a distinction because the HIV pandemic does not have a homogeneous behavior in the world. 93% of new infections occur in key populations if we exclude Sub-Saharan Africa, whose spread of the epidemic is totally different from that of the Americas region.
Globally, the HIV Testing and Treatment Cascade reported that there are 37 million people living with HIV, of which 84% don’t know their serological status. 27.5 million people are on ART, which means only 73% of people living with HIV (there is a significant gap in access between adults and children). Finally, 66% have a suppressed viral load.
How Are We Doing in Countries Where AHF is Located in Latin America and the Caribbean?
This time the report did not provide information by country, as we knew it in the Data Book Report, but we did access the data in the AIDSinfo, which provides us with region and country level information. Based on the reported data, we have the following results.
The graph represents the percentage information for each pillar of the HIV Testing and Treatment Cascade. There are two ways to measure these percentages: Determine the percentage with respect to the total estimate of people living with HIV or determine it in relation to each previous pillar. The information provided by UNAIDS is regarding the estimated total of PLHIV.
Most of the countries are over 70% in the first pillar, that is, people know their HIV status. This is the baseline we had in 2014, so there is still work to be done to summon and convince people to take the HIV test. The largest gaps are registered in Mexico (55%) and Panama (59%). Argentina and Brazil did not report.
Regarding people living with HIV on ART, the largest gaps are found in Jamaica (40%), Panama, and the Dominican Republic with 51%. Percentages hide the total number of people who are affected. In Jamaica, 15 thousand people living with HIV and knowing their diagnosis are not on ART; Chile has a similar number, although it reaches 70% in ART, there are 16 thousand people without ART, while Peru, which reaches 79%, has a gap of 17 thousand people who do not access ART.
In the Suppressed Viral Load pillar, Jamaica presents 33% followed by the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, and Mexico with 49% in this situation.
The situation is very uneven, Jamaica shows good numbers in people who know their diagnosis, but it declines in the other two pillars. Some of the countries exceed or are about to reach the first pillar of the ‘90s, apparently easier than the other two.
The report emphasizes that the countries that have advanced in reaching the 90-90-90 goals are leaders in the delivery of differentiated services where government health systems are complemented with services delivered by community organizations. The data, therefore, allows us to better focus on prevention, diagnosis, and linkage strategies.
AHF has been working for 14 years in the response to HIV and AIDS in Latin America and the Caribbean, where it has cutting-edge services in HIV, such as free rapid HIV tests, linkage to antiretroviral treatment in case you have not started it yet. Plus, free condoms and counseling. Contact us, locate your service center or write to our WhatsApp number in your country.