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Asian 
Pacific 
Society of 
Respirology


World AIDS Day,
1 December 2016

Fact Sheet

AIDS: A Killer Still at Large

  • In 2015, 1.1 million people around the world died from AIDS and more than 36 million were estimated to be living with HIV/AIDS, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
  • About two-thirds of those infected with HIV live in sub-Saharan Africa, the WHO estimates
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  • Between 2010 and 2015, new HIV infections rose 57 percent in Eastern Europe and central Asia; the highest rate of increase anywhere, according to the joint United National programme on AIDS (UNAIDS).
  • Worldwide, women constitute more than half of all people living with HIV, and for those in their reproductive years, AIDS is the leading cause of death, reports the Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR).
  • AIDS is the No. 1 cause of death for adolescents in Africa and the No. 2 cause globally, according to UNICEF.
  • HIV remains a significant health problem in the developed world. UNAIDS estimates that 2.4 million people are living with the disease in Western and Central Europe and in North America, and each year about 90,000 people living in these regions are newly infected with the virus.
  • Less than half of all people worldwide who have HIV receive the life-saving treatment for the disease known as antiretroviral therapy, with the Mideast and Northern Africa having the lowest level of treatment; 17 percent, according to UNAIDS. About 910,000 persons living with HIV and 87,000 children under 5 years of age began treatment of latent tuberculosis in 2015, but this is only 7 percent of the eligible children.

AIDS and Respiratory Disease

  • Shortly after it emerged, HIV/AIDS fueled a global resurgence of tuberculosis that continues in many low- and middle-income countries. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, HIV infection is the strongest and most potent risk factor for progressing from latent to active TB. Co-morbidities, such as HIV infection and malnutrition, may lead to advanced disease before the affected persons seek medical attention.
  • TB remains the leading cause of death among people living with HIV, accounting for about one in three AIDS-related deaths, reports UNAIDS. In 2015, tuberculosis killed 1.4 million people, making it the greatest single infectious agent cause of death and a leading cause of overall deaths in the world. When combined with HIV, it kills another 400,000 people.
  • More than 75 percent of those co-infected with HIV and TB now receive antiretroviral therapy, according to UNAIDS.
  • Those infected with HIV are also at greater risk of dying from Pneumocystis jirovecii pneumonia (PCP), the most common opportunistic infection of HIV, and from bacterial pneumonia (as much as twenty-fold) and Kaposi sarcoma.

The FIRS Response

The Forum of International Respiratory Societies (FIRS) calls on governments, health care programmes, clinicians, public health specialists, and non-government organizations to strengthen their responses to HIV/AIDS by:

  • Increasing awareness of the continuing global threat of HIV-related disease and its connection to TB and other respiratory diseases.
  • Improving HIV education of at-risk communities to reduce the incidence of new HIV infections and decrease health disparities.
  • Reducing the incidence and severity of HIV-related disease by strengthening mother-to-child transmission prevention programmes and increasing the early use of antiretroviral therapy.
  • Ending HIV-associated TB through TB infection control, preventive therapy, widespread use of antiretroviral therapy, and greater access to additional treatments.
  • Adequately funding research into improved treatments for both HIV and TB.
  • Monitoring progress at the local and national level that further drive the eradication of disease.

About FIRS

The Forum of International Respiratory Societies (FIRS) is an organization comprising the world's leading international respiratory societies and working together to improve lung health globally. The members of FIRS are the American Thoracic Society (ATS), American College of Chest Physicians (CHEST), Asociación Latinoamericana De Tórax (ALAT), Asian Pacific Society of Respirology (APSR), European Respiratory Society (ERS), International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union) and Pan African Thoracic Society (PATS). Through education and advocacy, FIRS unites and enhances the efforts of 70,000 physicians, nurses, and other healthcare providers; biomedical researchers; and public health experts to improve lung health around the world.

PRESS RELEASE

Global Response to Fight AIDS Urgently Needed this World AIDS Day, 1 December:

Forum of International Respiratory Societies

Tokyo, 1 December

In recognition of World AIDS Day, held annually on 1 December each year since 1988, the Forum of International Respiratory Societies (FIRS) is calling on governments, health advocates and non-government organizations to strengthen their response to HIV/AIDS. In 2015 AIDS claimed 1.1 million lives.

FIRS is an organization comprised of the world's leading international respiratory societies working together to improve lung health globally. FIRS supports these efforts through research, patient care and advocacy.

The lungs are commonly involved in AIDS, leading to significant morbidity and mortality. In addition to TB, pulmonary manifestations of AIDS may include pneumocystis jiroveci pneumonia bacterial pneumonia, and pulmonary Kaposi sarcoma, a form of cancer. Globally, AIDS has led to a resurgence of TB in many low- and middle-income countries. It is estimated that people who are infected with HIV are 26 to 31 times more likely to become sick with TB, which is the leading cause of death among people living with HIV. In fact, despite advances in AIDS treatment, TB accounts for one in three AIDS-related deaths, a statistic that illustrates the inexorable link between AIDS and respiratory disease.

World AIDS Day is an important reminder of the continuing worldwide toll of this disease. The World Health Organization estimates that 36.7 million people were infected with HIV overall and 2.1 million newly infected in 2015. Less than half of all people worldwide who have HIV receive the life-saving treatment for the disease known as antiretroviral therapy, with the Mideast and Northern Africa having the lowest level of treatment at 17 percent, according to UNAIDS.

"The global response to AIDS has been successful in reducing new HIV infections and HIV-related deaths, but continued investment is needed to reduce the number of deaths related to TB," said American Thoracic Society President David Gozal, MD, MBA. "Addressing the toll of respiratory deaths, in general, and TB deaths in particular will help in our efforts to realize the UNAIDS goal to end the AIDS epidemic by the year 2030."

FIRS believes a global response to HIV/AIDS can be strengthened by:

  • Increasing awareness of the continuing global threat of HIV-related disease.
  • Improving the health outcomes of people living with HIV through patient care and research.
  • Adequately funding research into improved treatments and treatment strategies.
  • Reducing the incidence and severity of HIV-related disease by strengthening mother-to-child transmission prevention programmes and increasing the early use of antiretroviral therapy.
  • Improving HIV education in at-risk communities to reduce the incidence of new HIV infections.
  • Reducing HIV-related health disparities and inequities.

These efforts will build on the progress that has been made in reducing AIDS-related death and morbidity.

About the Forum of International Respiratory Societies (FIRS)

The Forum of International Respiratory Societies (FIRS) is an organization comprising the world's leading international respiratory societies and working together to improve lung health globally. The members of FIRS are the American Thoracic Society (ATS), American College of Chest Physicians (CHEST), Asociación Latinoamericana De Tórax (ALAT), Asian Pacific Society of Respirology (APSR), European Respiratory Society (ERS), International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union) and Pan African Thoracic Society (PATS). Through education and advocacy, FIRS unites and enhances the efforts of 70,000 physicians, nurses, and other healthcare providers; biomedical researchers; and public health experts to improve lung health around the world.