November 24, 2009
UNAIDS: Worldwide Decrease in HIV Incidence and AIDS Deaths
HIV incidence worldwide has decreased 17 percent since 2001,
and AIDS-related deaths worldwide decreased 10 percent in 2008, according to a report by the United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and the World
Health Organization (WHO) and reported by aidsmap. UNAIDS and WHO released
their annual report titled AIDS Epidemic Update in advance of World AIDS Day on December 1.
“The good news is that we have evidence that the declines we
are seeing are due, at least in part, to HIV prevention,” said Michel Sidibé,
executive director of UNAIDS. “However, the findings also show that prevention
programming is often off the mark and that if we do a better hob of getting
resources and programs to where they will make most impact, quicker progress
can be made and more lives saved.”
According to the article, it is estimated that nearly 3
million lives around the globe have been saved because of access to HIV
treatment. Sub-Saharan Africa had the largest HIV prevention gains, with an
estimated 400,000 new infections prevented since 2008. Increased access to
antiretroviral therapy resulted in a 29 percent decline in AIDS-related deaths
between 2002 and 2007 in Kenya and about a 50 percent decline in those deaths
between 2003 and 2007 in Botswana.
The report demonstrates progress against HIV/AIDS, but it
also cautions that the fight is not over. In 2008, there were 2 million new HIV
infections. In addition, five people became HIV positive last year for every
two people who started HIV treatment. HIV prevention efforts remain essential
to eventually ending the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
Also, the report underscores that there are increasing
HIV/AIDS epidemics in many parts of the world. Eastern Europe and Central Asia
are particularly serious, since they are the only regions on the globe with
increasing HIV incidence.
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