Portugal “ready to discuss end of country’s HIV/ AIDS epidemic”

Portugal has been congratulated over new data that shows it is close to achieving United Nations targets for 2020 with the lowest number of new cases of HIV/ AIDS for the last 16 years.

Luiz Loures, vice-director of the UN HIV/AIDS programme, said the country is ready to start discussing the end of its epidemic.

“The end of AIDS here has already begun”, he told national programme personnel.

Isabel Aldir, running the programme, explained that of the 45,000 people who live with HIV in Portugal, 90.3% have been diagnosed, 91.3% are in treatment and 88% in treatment have ‘indetectable’ signs of the virus.

The UN 2020 target is ‘90-90-90’. In other words, Portugal is 0.2% from attaining it, three years ‘early’.

In data form, this year’s good news involved the diagnosis of only 841 new cases in 2016. These translate into a drop from the year before of 357. More than half the new cases (57%) were in heterosexuals, and the HIV hotspots remain ‘cities’: Porto, Lisbon, Setúbal and Faro in the Algarve.

Also lauded by the UN has been Portugal’s legislation which Luiz Loures congratulated for “protecting against discrimination” as well as “allowing the treatment of foreigners, irrespective of their geographical origin”.

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