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WHO seeks joint efforts as 3.9 million people with HIV live in South-East Asia

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Over the past decade, the South-East Asia Region has made substantial progress with a remarkable decline in both HIV and HIV-related deaths. NEW DELHI: An estimated 3.9 million people are living with HIV in the South-East Asia region, accounting for around 10% of the global burden, said  the World Health Organisation (WHO) on Thursday.  Marking World AIDS Day, observed on December 1,  WHO stated that in 2022, an estimated 110,000 people became newly infected with HIV, and 85,000 people in the region died of AIDS-related causes. This accounted for over 13% of the global burden of AIDS-related death.  Calling on member states, partners, and communities in the South-East Asia Region and across the world, WHO Regional Director for South-East Asia, Dr. Poonam Khetrapal Singh, said the need is to continue fostering collaboration to address the challenges in ending AIDS by 2030 and to empower communities to lead in shaping the response forward. Over the past decade, the South-East Asia Region has made substantial progress with a remarkable decline in both HIV and HIV-related deaths. The number of new HIV infections has halved from 200,000 in 2010 to 110,000 in 2022, and similarly, HIV-related deaths reduced to one-third from 230,000 in 2010 to 85,000 in 2022.  In 2022, 65% of people living with HIV were receiving lifesaving antiretroviral treatment, compared to only 17% in 2010. In 2019, Maldives and Sri Lanka were validated to have eliminated mother-to-child transmission of HIV and congenital syphilis, which Thailand achieved in 2016 – the first country in Asia to do so. By the end of 2022, 81% of people in the region living with HIV knew their status, 65% were on antiretroviral therapy, and 61% were virally suppressed. “Despite this progress, the region needs to accelerate efforts to ensure more people are reached,”Dr Khetrapal said. (THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS)

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