Teenage girls bearing brunt of global AIDS epidemic

Teenage girls bearing brunt of global AIDS epidemic

"Through our efforts, we aim to provide HIV treatment to an additional 1 million men and support over 90% of men in this age group to be virally suppressed to effectively interrupt HIV transmission." she said.

Similarly, Nigeria now ranks the second largest country with HIV epidemic in the world, with 3.2 million living with the virus in 2016 data.

As a result, fewer men are on antiretroviral therapy, and for those who receive treatment at a later stage, treatment is sometimes less effective.

Thousands of people living with HIV have been prosecuted, most of who did not actually pass on the virus.

Edwin Bernard, global co-ordinator of the Global HIV Justice Network, said there was an urgent need to train and educate judges and magistrates, many of whom operated on the basis of prejudice not fact. More than two thirds of countries reporting to UNAIDS require parental consent for a child under 18 years to access HIV testing, and more than half require consent for HIV treatment.

UNAIDS says the fight against the AIDS epidemic - in which 37 million people worldwide are infected with the incurable HIV virus - is at a "precarious point", with deaths falling, treatment rates rising, but rates of new HIV infections stubbornly high. "HIV criminalization is a growing global phenomenon that unfairly targets people living with HIV through criminal prosecutions and harsh penalties".

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"Stigma and discrimination is an affront to human rights and puts the lives of people living with HIV and key populations in danger".

The experts stressed that there was no possibility of HIV transmission through contact with the saliva of an HIV-positive person, including through kissing, biting or spitting.

The statement was endorsed by the International AIDS Society, International Association of Providers of AIDS Care, Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS and other organisations and scientists.

"Specific laws focusing on HIV criminalisation, and misuse of other laws despite the evidence against the likelihood of HIV transmission, reflect the perpetuation of ignorance, irrational fear and stigmatisation".

Although Thomas used condoms, had an undetectable viral load and did not infect his partner, he was given two 15-year sentences to run consecutively. The consensus statement is expected to help policymakers, prosecutors and courts be guided by the best available science and thereby avoid the misuse of the criminal law, as is now happening in many countries worldwide.

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