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VOA: AIDS: Fewer People Being Infected, Fewer People Dying
Nov 23rd, 2010 - 09:56:16
AIDS: Fewer People Being Infected, Fewer People Dying
Joe DeCapua 23 November 2010
A new report from UNAIDS says significant progress is being made
against HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa. The findings are contained in
the 2010 report on the global AIDS epidemic.
The latest report shows the number of newly infected people in
sub-Saharan Africa fell in 2009 to about 1.8 million. That compares to
around 2.2 million in 2001.
It also says in 22 sub-Saharan countries, the number of new infections
declined by more than 25 percent between 2001 and 2009. This includes
four of the five countries with the largest HIV epidemics namely
Ethiopia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Paul De Lay, UNAIDS deputy executive director, says, This report
clearly demonstrates that with confidence and conviction we have
broken the trajectory of the AIDS epidemic. Fewer people are becoming
infected with HIV and fewer people are dying from AIDS.
Overall, its estimated 33-million people worldwide are living with
HIV/AIDS the vast majority in sub-Saharan Africa.
New HIV infections have fallen by nearly 20 percent in the last 10
years. AIDS-related deaths have fallen by nearly 20 percent in the
last five years, says De Lay, adding, At least 56 countries that
have sufficient data for study have stabilized or significantly slowed
down the rate of new HIV infections.
Nigeria is one of the countries where the HIV epidemic is now reported
stabilized. But De Lay warns all the news is not positive.
There are some regions, he says, where new HIV infections are on
the rise, especially in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. The report
also shows that there are epidemics occurring in sub-populations. In
particular, there is a resurgence of HIV in young men who have sex
with men in North America and Western Europe.
Despite that, the new UNAIDS report shows that prevention can be successful.
Behavior change and prevention
Bernhard Schwartlander, director of the agencys evidence, strategy
and results department, says, We have seen that in more and more
countries people are actually adopting safer behaviors. In 59
countries, for example, less than 25 percent of the men report having
sex with more than one partner in the last 12 months, which clearly is
a positive trend that can be linked in many countries also with
decreases in the number of new infections.
Success can also be seen in preventing HIV transmission from infected
mothers to their newborns.
Fewer children are being born with HIV. New infections among infants
have dropped by 24 percent in the last five years. And in 2009, we
estimate that this number stands at 370,000, which of course is still
the target to be overcome, he says.
People with HIV/AIDS are also living longer due to the greater
availability of anti-retroviral drugs. More than 5.2 million people
in developing countries are receiving treatment. However, UNAIDS
estimates there are 10 million people, with advanced stages of
HIV/AIDS, who still need access to treatment.
Schwartlander says although it can be seen that investments are paying
off, economic austerity is placing those gains in jeopardy.
For the first time ever over the past decade or 20 years, he says,
the resources available from international sources in 2009 were less
than the resources made available from international donors in the
previous year in 2008. While the difference is not dramatic, it
clearly indicates that theres a difference in the trend after having
seen significant increases from year to year. This doesnt seem to be
the case anymore.
The report also says there are still high levels of stigma and
discrimination surrounding the disease some 30 years into the
epidemic. For example, the report says in 79 countries and areas,
same sex relationships are still criminalized. Some countries even
impose the death penalty for those convicted of having such
Whats more, UNAIDS says violence against women and the fear of
violence block many women from having access to HIV/AIDS related
Elizabeth Kennedy Trudeau
Press Attaché and Spokesperson, United States Diplomatic Mission to South Africa
Telephone: 27-12-431-4000, ext. 4217 | Cell: 27-79-111-8280
Email: trudeauek (at) state.gov | Official website:
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