50 Percent Drop in New HIV Infections

Photo: Red ribbon and the earth

The red ribbon is the international symbol
of HIV and AIDS;© panthermedia.net/Tim

The report shows that a more than 50 percent reduction in the rate of new HIV infections has been achieved across 25 low- and middle-income countries – more than half in Africa, the region most affected by HIV.

In some of the countries which have the highest HIV prevalence in the world, rates of new HIV infections have been cut dramatically since 2001; by 73 percent in Malawi, 71 percent in Botswana, 68 percent in Namibia, 58 percent in Zambia, 50 percent in Zimbabwe and 41 percent in South Africa and Swaziland.

In addition to welcome results in HIV prevention, sub-Saharan Africa has reduced AIDS-related deaths by one third in the last six years and increased the number of people on antiretroviral treatment by 59 percent in the last two years alone.

“The pace of progress is quickening — what used to take a decade is now being achieved in 24 months,” said Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS. “We are scaling up faster and smarter than ever before. It is the proof that with political will and follow through we can reach our shared goals by 2015.”

For example, South Africa increased its scale up of HIV treatment by 75 percent in the last two years — ensuring 1.7 million people had access to the lifesaving treatment —and new HIV infections have fallen by more than 50 000 in just two years. During this period, South Africa also increased its domestic investments on AIDS to 1.6 billion Dollars, the highest by any low- and middle-income country.

The report also shows that countries are assuming shared responsibility by increasing domestic investments. More than 81 countries increased domestic investments by 50 percent between 2001 and 2011. The new results come as the AIDS response is in a 1000 day push to reach the Millennium Development Goals and the 2015 targets of the UN Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS.

MEDICA.de; Source: Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS)