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Published On: Wed, Nov 21st, 2012

UN reports large decreases in new HIV infections according to report

There were more than 700 000 fewer new HIV infections globally in 2011 than in 2001. Africa has cut AIDS-related deaths by one third in the past six years, according to a newly published UNAIDS report titled Results.

HIV Image/CDC

“And as services have been scaled up, uptake has followed. In fact, what had taken a decade before is now being achieved in 24 months. In the past two years there has been a 60% increase in the number of people accessing lifesaving treatment—8 million people are on antiretroviral therapy”, says Executive Director of Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), Michel Sidibé.

A reduction of more than 50 per cent 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 according to the report.

More specifically, 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 per cent in Malawi, 71 per cent in Botswana, 68 per cent in Namibia, 58 per cent in Zambia, 50 per cent in Zimbabwe and 41 per cent in South Africa and Swaziland ( which has the highest HIV prevalence in the world).

In addition,  in the last two years in Africa, new HIV infections in children decreased by 24 per cent. In six countries –Burundi, Kenya, Namibia, South Africa, Togo and Zambia – the number of children newly infected with HIV fell by at least 40 per cent between 2009 and 2011.

The region with the sharpest declines in number of new HIV infections is the Caribbean where there has been a drop of more than 42%. In Suriname, the rate of new HIV infections fell by 86% and in the Dominican Republic by 73%.
A more than 50% decline was observed in the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize and Haiti. In Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago, new HIV infections fell by more than one third.

In Asia, Nepal and Cambodia dramatically decreased new HIV infections by 91 and 88 percent, respectively.

However, the report does report of several countries where the HIV epidemic increased significantly. These include Bangladesh, Georgia, Guinea-Bissau, Indonesia, the Philippines, Kazakhstan, Krygyzstan, Republic of Moldova and Sri Lanka.

Countries that are doing well at reducing new HIV infections have focused on key populations, namely men who have sex with men, people who buy and sell sex, transgender populations and people who inject drugs, according to Steve Kraus, UNAIDS regional director for Asia and the Pacific in an interview with Radio Australia.

The report also shows that countries are assuming shared responsibility by increasing domestic investments in the response to the disease. More than 81 countries increased such investments by 50 per cent between 2001 and 2011.

Antiretroviral therapy has emerged as a powerful force for saving lives, the report notes. In the last 24 months, the number of people accessing treatment has increased by 63 per cent globally. In sub-Saharan Africa, a record 2.3 million people had access to treatment, while China has increased the number of people on HIV treatment by nearly 50 per cent in the last year alone.

Still the fight is far from over. There remain 34 million people living with HIV/AIDS around the globe, as well as 2.5 million new infections and 1.7 million deaths annually, according to the report.

 

 

 

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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

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