Annemarie Hou, Director of Communications at the Joint UN Programme on AIDS and HIV (UNAIDS), speaks at a press conference in Geneva launching a new Results Report on HIV. UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré
World AIDS Day is quickly approaching on December 1 where the global community comes together to remember those who have succumbed to HIV/AIDS and also push for an AIDS-free generation. Last week UNAIDS released their new global report on the HIV/AIDS (download: PDF) that showed significant movement in the reduction in new HIV cases. New cases were down to 2.5 million in 2011 from 3.2 million in 2001. The report also highlighted that more people are living with HIV and have access to antiretroviral therapy, currently a 63% increase from 2009- 2011.
“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.”
According to the report sub-Saharan Africa still claims the highest number of HIV positive people followed by the Caribbean, Eastern Europe and Central Asia. In fact, women account for 58% of people living with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa. Optimistically, the overall rate of HIV infections has been reduced 50% since 2001. The greatest reduction is being seen currently with newborns. According to the report in 2011, new infections in children were 43% lower than in 2003 and 24% lower than 2009.
More Work to Do
While key HIV/AIDS statistics are improving there is space for better results. The overall number of new HIV cases need to be drastically reduced and more people need access to antiretroviral drugs. An estimated seven million people still need access to life-saving drugs . There is also a funding gap that will prohibit marked improvements unless more money is pledged by both poor and middle-income countries and the international contributions are sustained or increased.
Read more at www.unaids.org