Focus should be on making treatment more accessible to patients
According to the WHO, at the end of 2015, there were approximately 36.7 million people living with HIV with 2.1 million people becoming newly infected with HIV in 2015 globally. Yet the WHO also states that between 2000 and 2015, new HIV infections have fallen by 35 per cent, AIDS-related deaths have fallen by 28 per cent with some 7.8 million lives saved as a result of international efforts. That we have been able to make such progress for a disease that was once a death knell is indicative of the tremendous advances made in research and development of drugs to treat HIV and more awareness and education about HIV. Today antiretroviral treatment can control the virus and help prevent its transmission so that patients and those at risk can lead qualitatively better lives.
“It is only fitting that on World AIDS Day, we pay tribute to all those patients whose participation in clinical trials for HIV has led to the discovery of better and more effective treatment for HIV,” said Suneela Thatte, President, ISCR (Indian Society for Clinical Research).
“The clinical research fraternity owes a lot to these patients. We now need to focus our efforts on making treatment more accessible to patients and on research to further improve the potency and efficacy of existing ART medications and improve patient outcomes.”
WHO says that in 2005, only two million people were on ART. By the end of 2015, 17 million people were on ART globally, an increase of over 800 per cent in a decade India has the third-highest number of people living with HIV in the world. In 2015, there were 2.1 million people living with HIV and 68,000 AIDS related deaths in India. “Hopefully the day is not too far away when we will have a cure for HIV,” said Thatte.
EP News Bureau