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14th November 2016

AIDS-related deaths could be reduced with anti-fungal drugs

On-going research in early diagnosis and correct treatment of fungal infections suggests many lives could be saved amongst HIV/AIDS sufferers
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AIDS-related illnesses were responsible for 1,100,000 deaths in 2015, of which around half of were caused by fungal infections. These fungal infections take advantage of the weakened immune system of someone suffering from HIV/AIDS and can have serious effects.

The opportunity to save many of these lives may lie in the use of generic anti-fungal drugs according to data analysis by Professor David Denning of the Global Action Fund for Fungal Infections (GAFFI), suggesting that early diagnosis and treatment of fungal diseases could save over 1,000,000 deaths by 2020.

GAFFI has been praised for highlighting the current issue of the undiagnosed and untreated fungal infections among people living with HIV, and the number of deaths this lack of research causes.

It is predicted that there will be over 700,000 deaths by AIDS in 2020 and GAFFI urges for global research in identifying treatment and for raised awareness of the problem.

GAFFI suggests that with progression in this area, the number of predicted deaths in 2020 could be reduced by 42 per cent and save the lives of many affected by AIDS, among whom the median death age is mid-30s.

The target of ‘zero AIDS by 2015’ has sadly been missed, but with new and advanced research into treating fungal infections related to AIDS, the vision of decreasing the death toll to a smaller figure of 500,000 a year is still a hopeful goal.

With HIV and AIDS being one of the biggest challenges in global health, it is crucial that work on treatment and diagnosis, like the work of GAFFI, is continued in order to have an AIDS free world.

Eloise Burt, President of Manchester’s Youth Stop Aids, commented: “Contracting HIV is no longer a death sentence, providing people have access to the medicines they need. Unfortunately 3300 people are still dying from AIDS-related diseases each day due to a lack of available medicines and omissions in research and development.

“We are delighted to hear of GAFFI’s intent to address this issue; this brings us closer to our aim of an AIDS free world by 2030. Despite this, we are still calling on Priti Patel, International Development Minister to review the UK’s global work on HIV/AIDS.”

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