Strengthening health systems aimed on HIV/AIDS - for a safer world and brighter future
By Prakash Tyagi .
The role of Health System Strengthening (HSS) focusing on prevention, treatment and care in the response to HIV and AIDS is enormous. The ongoing 9th ICAAP in Bali is addressing the aspects of HSS through multiple sessions and looking into future possibilities.
“As we move ahead in our response to HIV and AIDS, we are meeting new challenges,” said Prof. Keizo Takemi from Japan in a plenary session Monday.
Indeed, there has been growing evidence of epidemiological transition of non-communicable diseases posing new challenges and the gaps in access to antiretrovirals therapy (ART) for people living with HIV (PLHIV), which remains an area of serious concern.
Hepatitis C: A challenge among injecting drug users who are living with HIV
By Ishwarchandra Haobam .
HCV/HIV coinfection is an increasingly important public health concern in the Asia-Pacific region. Approximately 33.2 million people are living with HIV and 170 million people worldwide are estimated to be infected with the Hepatitis C Virus (HCV), with 32 million of them living in South Asia.
The number of people with HIV and HCV coinfection is extremely high among people who inject drugs, compared to other key population groups. In some groups of injecting drug users, the rate of coinfection can be as high as 90 percent.
Although Hepatitis C is less likely than HIV to be transmitted sexually or from mother to baby, some studies show that the risk of sexual or pre-natal Hepatitis C transmission is greater if a person is also HIV-positive.
Universal Access – Challenges in the Asia Pacific Region
By Ishdeep Kohli .
UNAIDS Regional Director for Asia-Pacific JVR Prasada Rao reiterated that Universal Access should not be a mere aspiration but an achievable goal.
“All people should be able to access the services to live with health and dignity,” said Rao while speaking at Universal Access: What it takes to deliver in the Asia-Pacific Region session at the 9th ICAAP on August 10.
“By pragmatically focusing prevention programs on key populations – commercial sex workers and their clients, intravenous drug users (IDUs) and men having sex with other men (MSM), a considerable impact can be made by governments in halting and reversing the number of new infections across the Asia Pacific region,” he said referring to the findings of the report Redefining AIDS in Asia – Crafting an Effective Response, published by the Commission on AIDS in Asia.