The latest international news, analysis and features on the HIV epidemic from Avert. Share your views and expertise with your peers in the comments box below the articles.
A quarter of people living with HIV in the UK are aged over 50, according to recent statistics from Public Health England. While care of HIV-positive people was once the domain of specialist staff, people living with HIV are now living full lives thanks to treatment, and are more often seen by general health services. However, the care needs of older HIV-positive people still require careful consideration, as many primary providers do not have up-to-date knowledge of HIV.
New HIV testing guidelines from the World Health Organisation aim to improve and expand testing services globally. The guidance includes a new focus on the importance of community testing to increase take-up of testing as early as possible after infection.
The Millennium Development Goal (MDG) relating to HIV and AIDS – halting and reversing the spread of HIV – has been met and exceeded, as announced by UNAIDS today.
The MDGs were established in 2000 – with targets ranging from reducing extreme poverty, to combatting HIV and AIDS, to providing universal primary education to all children by 2015. The sixth MDG relates specifically to halting and reversing the spread of HIV and AIDS by 2015, and achieving universal access to treatment for those who need it.
A study in the United States has found that people living with HIV aged 45 to 65, who start treatment with low CD4 counts – a measure of how healthy the immune system is – have higher mortality rates than their younger counterparts. Improved health outcomes were experienced among this group when treatment was started earlier, at the World Health Organisation recommended CD4 count of 500 cells/mm3.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has confirmed that Cuba is officially the first country to eliminate mother to child transmission of HIV (MTCT). Cuba has been working with WHO and the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) since 2010 as part of a regional programme to eliminate both MTCT and syphilis. Elimination in this sense means ‘a reduction of transmission to such a low level that it no longer constitutes a public health problem.’