Major drop in new HIV cases
Global rates of HIV infection and AIDS-related death have both fallen dramatically, the UN has today announced. According to the widely reported figures from the UN’s UNAIDS division, both have fallen by 21% since their peaks at the turn of the millennium. Measures such as improved medical treatment were estimated to have prevented 700,000 AIDS-related deaths in 2010 alone.
The global statistics have been published ahead of World AIDS day on December 1, and to mark a decade since a groundbreaking summit that led to a global strategy for tackling HIV. The report investigated the rates of new HIV infections, people living with HIV worldwide and AIDS-related deaths, to see how far we are currently from the UNAIDS’ ambitious vision: zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths.
The report also outlined strategies of what still needs to be done to prevent new infections and to support the 34 million currently living with HIV.
The news has been widely welcomed, with groups such the charity Medecins Sans Frontieres declaring the fall to be ‘a promising moment to really turn this epidemic around’. However, as the charity and UNAIDS have also highlighted, there is a need to sustain these improvements and continue fighting this worldwide problem with a truly global solution such as the UNAIDS plan.
What is UNAIDS and what does it do?
UNAIDS is the United Nations’ programme for tackling HIV and AIDS as a global problem. Working closely with the World Health Organization its goal is to drive a long-term strategic response to tackle the world AIDS epidemic.
In 2010, the UNAIDS group set out a series of specific goals to achieve by 2015. These include:
- reducing sexual transmission of HIV by half
- eliminating mother-to-baby transmission of HIV and reducing AIDS-related maternal mortality by half
- preventing new HIV infections among people who inject drugs
- ensuring universal access to antiretroviral (anti-HIV) therapy for people living with HIV who are eligible for treatment
- halving the number of deaths due to tuberculosis among people living with HIV
- ensuring that people living with HIV and households affected by HIV have access to essential care and support, and that this goal is addressed in all national HIV plans
- halving the number of countries with punitive laws and practices around HIV transmission, sex work, drug use or homosexuality that might block people from receiving effective responses
- the elimination of HIV-related border controls that might restrict entry, stay and residence in half of the countries that have such restrictions
- ensuring that at least half of all HIV responses address the HIV-specific needs of women and girls
- a zero-tolerance stance on gender-based violence
How have rates of HIV infections and AIDS-related deaths changed?
In the wake of the UNAIDS strategy and improving national plans, new infections and AIDS deaths have both dramatically fallen in number since their peak in the late 1990s.
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Wednesday 19 June 2013
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