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2018 Conference: The fight against HIV/AIDS continues

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This year’s international AIDS conference was held in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Over 15,000 stakeholders from different nations converged at the Dutch capital to discuss the global threat addressed and achievement gained in fighting the human virus.

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The conference, the 22nd edition, remains the world’s biggest health event of this year, 2018 where policies and practical experiences were shared by numerous interested parties.

Global personalities, leaders and international health donors attended the event in a bid to reveal the significance the occasion had. Former US president bill Clinton and UK’s Prince Harry attended.

‘Breaking Barriers and Building Bridges’, the theme of the year, has brought the globe to the point of notably understanding how the HIV/AIDS has become a major crisis.

Moreover, going by past recent statistics, last year recorded a trembling number of 1.8 million new infections. A worrying trend that sent nerves getting cold.

Apart from the general population risk by the epidemic, specific target group including adolescent and drug users have been revealed to be hugely at risk.

Although the development reaction wasn’t as empowering as it was the case in the previous occasions, something useful came out of it.

At the conference, various groups supported the launching of $1.2 billion HIV services for both men and boys among other promotional services.

Massive youth participation in this year’s event indicate the concrete recognition of the danger youngsters are facing in terms of new infections majorly in African countries.

In the fight against HIV/AIDS, stakeholders intimately connected the need to address the epidemic together with tuberculosis which, according to health observations, caused the death of many with the virus – infected people are 50 times more likely to contract TB.

All is not lost in the debate around combining the fighting effort of HIV and TB.

Presented findings from East Africa’s Kenya and Uganda brought forward a positive result in a trial that involved combined testing and treatment of HIV and other opportunistic diseases like TB, hypertension and diabetes. The study concluded reduced cases of the opportunistic maladies.

Kenya has the joint fourth-largest HIV epidemic in the world (alongside Mozambique and Uganda) with 1.6 million people living with HIV in 2016. In the same year, 36,000 people died from AIDS-related illnesses, while this is still high it has declined steadily from 64,000 in 2010.

Currently, 66% of the 1.5 million people living with HIV in Kenya are on antiretroviral treatment. The goal is to have at least 90 percent on treatment by 2020.

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