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New Delhi: World Health Organization (WHO) marks World AIDS Day by calling on Member States, partners and communities in the South-East Asia region and across the world to commit to tackling the challenges of eliminating AIDS by 2030. Keep strengthening partnerships and empowering communities. WHO’s Regional Director for South-East Asia, Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, said that about 39 million people worldwide are living with HIV.
In the year 2022, about 13 lakh people were infected with HIV and about 6,30,000 people died due to AIDS-related causes. About 39 lakh people in the South-East Asia region are living with HIV, which is about 10 percent of the people suffering from this disease worldwide.
Dr Khetrapal Singh said 1,10,000 people were infected with HIV last year and 85,000 died of AIDS-related causes in the region. Good progress has been made in the South-East Asia region over the past decade, with significant declines in HIV infection and related deaths. New cases of HIV infection, which were two lakh in 2010, will come down to 1,10,000 in 2022.
Similarly, the number of deaths due to HIV in 2010 was 2,30,000, which will reduce to 85,000 in 2022. According to Singh, about 95 percent of new HIV infections across the region are among at-risk populations, including sex workers, injection drug users, men who have sex with men, transgender people and their parents. According to him, about a quarter of new HIV cases in the region in 2022 will be seen among youth.
In many countries in the South-East Asia region, almost half of the new cases of HIV infection are found in youth. Singh said that in order to move faster towards the eradication of AIDS, people at risk and communities affected by HIV should be included more and more in formulating strategies in this direction. He said it is important to empower communities in the implementation of the Integrated Regional Action Plan for viral hepatitis, HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. “WHO is calling for action in a number of important areas,” he said.
“Policy makers and program managers should welcome such initiatives and ensure meaningful partnership with community organizations and people living with HIV in service delivery, policy development, community level monitoring.”
Dr Khetrapal Singh said, “Together we must intensify efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, 2030. “On World AIDS Day, WHO reiterates its commitment to transform the region and the world where AIDS is no longer a public health threat and no individual, community or population is left behind.” (agency)
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