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'People living with HIV continue to suffer needlessly & die silently'

A medical watchdog has warned goals to curb HIV won’t be met unless the response is accelerated.

FILE. Health workers observing World Aids Day. Picture: AFP.

PRETORIA - A medical watchdog and activist group warns that globally agreed goals to curb the HIV epidemic by 2020 will not be met unless the HIV response is drastically accelerated in West and Central Africa.

It follows a detailed study in Guinea, the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo where the organisation says people living with HIV continue to suffer needlessly and die silently.

Doctors Without Borders in today's report calls for United Nations agencies, European donor agencies, the Global Fund and Pepfar, as well as affected governments and civil society, to develop and implement a fast-track plan to scale-up life saving antiretroviral treatment for countries where this coverage reaches less than one-third of the population in need - particularly in West and Central Africa.

The report warns against the converging trend of international agencies to focus on high-burden countries and HIV hot spots in Sub-Saharan Africa saying this risks overlooking the importance of closing the treatment gap in regions with low antiretroviral coverage.

The needs in West and Central Africa remain enormous with three out of four people in need not accessing HIV care.