Islamabad - The global HIV epidemic claimed fewer lives in 2015 than at any point in almost twenty years reducing the number of infections per year to 2.1 million, said experts on Tuesday.

World Health Organisation (WHO) organised a seminar here where it was informed that HIV prevention programmes reduced the number of new HIV infections per year to 2.1 million in 2015, a 35 per cent decline in incidence since 2,000.

The massive expansion of antiretroviral therapy has reduced the number of people dying of HIV related causes to approximately 1.1 million in 2015 – 45 per cent fewer than in 2005.

WHO, UNAIDS and NACP are working together in close collaboration for the prevention and control of the spread of HIV/AIDS.

Having achieved the global target of halting and reversing the spread of HIV, world leaders have set the 2020 “Fast-Track” targets to accelerate the HIV response and to end AIDS by 2030.

National Programme Manger AIDS Control Programme Dr Baseer Khan Achakzai said the country’s population comprises majority of youth. So they are urged to come forward and become advocate to create awareness in society to address stigma and discrimination attached to HIV and AIDS.

“With well informed youth various myths about HIV can be busted and correct information will enable and empower them to take correct decisions,” he added.

Representative WHO Dr Assai Ardakani in his message said that efforts should be made to ensure access of the people living with HIV/AIDS to affordable, comprehensive, quality based HIV/AIDS prevention, testing and treatment in an environment which is free from stigma and discrimination.

“Young people can play a positive role in their own society identifying facts from myths. WHO, being a technical agency, is trying its best to build the capacity of healthcare providers enabling them to prevent and control the menace of HIV/AIDS and improve the quality of healthcare in the country which is love the most.”

The prime objective of the seminar was to talk about what is HIV/AIDS and most importantly to address the stigma attached to the persons having/living with HIV/AIDS, seeking its treatment and the behavior of society.

The seminar also focused on providing evidence based information to the students, clearing the misconceptions and myths associated with people having HIV/AIDS, especially highlighting the factors on how the virus can be contracted and treatment available and how it can be prevented.

Students are our future of the country and there is a dire need to educate them and raise awareness in youth on HIV/AIDS. Students can also be the agents of change and help in changing the perception of HIV/AIDS.