Progress? Myanmar increases HIV funding

Thursday, October 23, 2014

I know this is kind of old news, but as both HIV and Myanmar are areas of interest for me, I am posting it anyway.

Last week, Myanmar confirmed in a meeting with the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for AIDS in Asia and the Pacific, J.V.R. Prasada Rao, that it will increase funding for domestic HIV programs by 5 million USD:
There were 190 000 people living with HIV and 6700 new HIV infections in Myanmar in 2013. More than 65 000 people were receiving HIV treatment in 2013 and the Ministry of Health estimates the new funding will enable 40 000 additional people living with HIV to access antiretroviral medicine and will increase the national HIV treatment target coverage to 85%. The Minister of Health has asked his staff to work with UNAIDS to determine the cost of reaching 100% coverage.
The Minister of Health also pledged an additional US$ 1 million to further scale up opioid substitution therapy for 10 000 people by the end of 2016. Studies show that harm reduction programmes such as needle–syringe exchange programmes and opioid substitution therapy are effective in reducing the spread of HIV.

In Myanmar, key populations, including people who inject drugs, sex workers, men who have sex with men and transgender people, are at higher risk of HIV infection. Mr Rao urged the government to amend policies that violate the human rights of key populations and praised the country’s draft intellectual property law, which will help protect access to affordable medicines.
Lovely. Now, if they could just quit throwing journalists in jail and repeal the law that was obviously designed to prevent opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi from running for president, that would be great.

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