The World Bank pioneered global HIV and AIDS financing early in the emergency and remains committed to achieving Millennium Development Goal 6, to halt by 2015 and begin to reverse the spread of HIV and AIDS, through prevention, care, treatment, and mitigation services for those affected by HIV and AIDS.
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Thirty years ago, newspaper headlines were rife with news of a virus that even doctors were unfamiliar with. Little was known about a strange epidemic that later would take the lives of music legends ... Show More +such as Freddy Mercury and Héctor Lavoe and several Hollywood stars.Today we know that the disease does not distinguish by sex, race or religion. It is the same illness that has killed 25 million people worldwide. Nowadays it is an old acquaintance whose name is no longer a novelty: AIDS.The characteristics of the epidemic differ by region. 69% of people infected with HIV live in Sub-Saharan Africa, for example, and only half of them receive antiretroviral therapy. By contrast, in Asia the epidemic is concentrated among sex workers and intravenous-drug users. “In the case of Latin America, the virus is prevalent among men who have sex with men. The epidemic is kept hidden due to the stigma of people living with HIV and discrimination with respect to sexual orientation,” says Fernando Lavadenz, senior health expert at the World Bank.The Latin American and Caribbean region has substantially reduced HIV prevalence during the past decade. “It went from being the region with the worst burden of HIV-AIDS death and illness in the 2000s to being the fourth most affected region after Sub-Saharan Africa, south Asia and east and central Europe in 2010,” says Lavadenz.Access to treatment is the keyToday, the HIV epidemic in the region has stabilized: more than 1.6 million Latin Americans are affected, but according to UNAIDS data, AIDS-related deaths declined by 36 % between 2001 and 2012. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that currently, 600,000 more people are receiving antiretroviral therapy in the region as compared with 2003.Argentina is a case in point. “The disease burden has been significantly reduced by several factors, including, and perhaps most importantly, the free, universal access to antiretroviral drugs,” explains Lavadenz.A World Bank study carried out with support from UNAIDS reported that thanks to available treatments, at least 4,300 people were saved from illness in Argentina between 2001 and 2010. The country allocates 80% of total HIV/AIDS spending to care and treatment, compared to a regional average of 75%. “It is also a question of knowing how to spend well,” says Lavadenz. The study found that despite the high cost of antiretroviral drugs in Argentina, the National AIDS program is cost beneficial. “The benefits were not only in lives saved but also in savings of over US$ 748 million in Argentina, estimating the costs saved in the complicated treatment of people with advanced disease and the transmission that was avoided,” says the expert.“This is a successful case in which HIV treatment was the best prevention and a good lesson for Latin America,” he says.Laws in favorAlong with Brazil, Argentina was one of the first countries to provide free treatment to people living with HIV. The National AIDS Law, among other mechanisms, mandated the government and all other health providers to provide medical, pharmacological and psychological treatment to people living with HIV.“In Argentina, more than 80% of reported HIV cases have received treatment, which the WHO defines as universal access,” says Lavadenz.Additionally, the equal marriage law – Argentina is the first Latin American country to support same-sex marriage – and the gender identity law – the only law in the world that upholds the rights of transsexuals– have favored HIV prevention and treatment. “These laws made the country a pioneer in reducing the stigma,” says Lavadenz. “Less stigma, less shame in going to a hospital, taking a test or receiving medical attention in a democratic, non-discriminatory way.” Show Less -
SAMBURU, December 1, 2014 - For generations, the pastorialists of Samburu, a nomadic county 400 kilometers north of Nairobi, have roamed from place to place in search of water and pasture for the... Show More +ir animals.“In such nomadic communities, it is sometimes common for children born with disabilities and HIV/AIDS to be abandoned by their families because they cannot help them herd animals in distant fields,” says Grace Seneiya, who opened a school for disabled children living with HIV/AIDS in Samburu. "I met a blind boy who had been abandoned by his parents when I was teaching at a small school in Barangui. I had to take him in."The Samburu Handicapped Education and Rehabilitation Program (SHERP) received a $4000 grant to train health workers to ensure that the 150 disabled children living with HIV/AIDS at SHERP had access to nutrition, medicine, and home care that they required."One of the causes of disability is that many women here do not go to hospitals to deliver babies with the help of a skilled health professional," says Grace. Maternal mortality in Kenya is among Africa's highest at 488 deaths per 100,000 live births. The proportion of women who deliver with skilled attendance is only 44 percent and has remained largely unchanged since 1993.SHERP is one of the more than 10,000 community-based organizations in Kenya who received a grant to help respond to the HIV/AIDS epidemic nationwide. Supported by $135 million dollars in funding from the World Bank, this component of the Total War Against HIV and AIDS (TOWA) Project empowers community-based organizations such as SHERP to expand the coverage of HIV/AIDS prevention and mitigation activities in their local communities. Through this project, communities are empowered to create, implement, and manage smaller projects that contribute to the national response to HIV/AIDS. Kenya has the fourth largest HIV epidemic in the world. In 2012, an estimated 1.6 million people were living with HIV and roughly 57,000 people died from AIDS-related illnesses. There are now 1.1 million orphans to the epidemic. The epidemic varies in different parts of the country with the Nyanza province with the highest overall prevalence of 15 percent, followed by Nairobi with 10 percent.Through TOWA, Kenya’s Ministry of Health and the National AIDS Control Counsel, distributed over 3 million insecticide treated bed nets and 300 million condoms nationwide. It also funded grants to more than 10,000 community based organizations to raise awareness of HIV/AIDS. As a result, between 2007 and 2012, HIV prevalence was reduced from 7.2% to 5.6% and new infections declined by 40%.Community-based organizations have helped contribute to the national response to HIV/AIDS, by empowering communities to respond to local changes. Show Less -