Manila, December 2015 - Advances in HIV prevention and treatment could end AIDS as a public health threat in the Western Pacific Region, but for this to happen, people living with HIV need to know their status, access life-saving antiretroviral therapy (ART) and continue with lifelong treatment. These challenges were recognized by the United Nations General Assembly in September 2015 when it resolved to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030. The theme for World AIDS day this year, "Getting to zero", highlights the need to act more boldly and innovatively to reach this target.
Phnom Penh Statement on HIV and syphilis testing
Phnom Penh, July 2015 - A new 'Phnom Penh Statement' notes that lack of quality testing is the first and biggest obstacle towards treatment access and calls for improving access and quality of HIV and syphilis point-of-care testing. An innovative partnership between the World Health Organization Regional Offices for South East Asia and Western Pacific Region, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Reference Laboratory Australia and the African Society for Laboratory Medicine supports the momentum in Asia and the Pacific.
Sok Chantha a former sex worker in Cambodia was devastated when he discovered that he was HIV positive in 2011. Not wanting to believe he had the virus, he went for testing a few more times before finally accepting that he had HIV and starting treatment.
Testing and counselling is the essential first step for people to learn their HIV status and a gateway to access prevention, treatment and care services. However, in Asia, less than half of all people currently living with HIV know their HIV status. For people from key populations like Chantha (men who have sex with men (MSM), transgender people, people who inject drugs and sex workers and their clients, people in prisons and other closed settings), knowledge of their HIV status can be even less.
China, May 2015 – China is determined to move forward to triple elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV, syphilis and hepatitis B. Implemented in Yunnan province, one of the provinces most affected by HIV in China, this case study presents the expansion of national pilot programme from 2005 to 2009 and accelerated efforts for an "integrated prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV, syphilis and hepatitis B (iPMTCT)” from 2010 to 2012.