A few reflections from Dr Gottfried Hirnschall, Director – HIV & Hepatitis department for the World Health Organisation. During 2016, the WHO HIV Department and Global Hepatitis Programme, broke new grounds and supported major achievements in countries.
We saw WHO’s Member States adopt the first-ever global strategy to eliminate viral hepatitis by 2030 – an expression of major commitment by all countries. We also announced many other “firsts” in hepatitis: the first million people with HCV receiving treatment (as stated in our first treatment access report), the first testing policy brief, and the first surveillance guide – all pioneering actions to enable countries to move forward as quickly as possible; and the first 35 countries reporting to have established national hepatitis action plans as well.
In HIV, the world achieved a new milestone in treatment scale-up: more than 18 million persons on ART, amounting to about 50% of people with HIV. Moreover, countries have shown very encouraging uptake of HIV “treat all” policies. We have trained more than 700 persons in the use of our new guidelines (through regional capacity building events). We increasingly focused on “test all” with the launch of ground-breaking HIV self-testing guidance on World AIDS Day. Several more countries were also validated for having achieved the elimination of mother-to-child HIV transmission.