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News > World

UNAIDS: Aids, HIV Infections Numbers Down 18%

  • Michel Sidibe, executive director of Unaids at a news conference

    Michel Sidibe, executive director of Unaids at a news conference | Photo: Reuters FILE

Published 18 July 2018

“We are sounding the alarm,” said Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS.

The Unaids agency launched a new report yesterday in Paris, France, showing progress is being made in the fight against AIDS. However, the agency warns that "progress is slowing and time is running out to reach the 2020 HIV targets."

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New global HIV infections dropped 18% since 2010, from 2.2 million infected in 2010 to 1.8 million in 2017, the expectation was that this number would be lowered by 75%. Overall, this is almost half of the number of new infections compared to its peak in 1996 which was 3.4 million persons. This means that new VIH infections fell by 5.3% in 2017, compared to 2016, the press release by the United Nations agency stated. 

On the other hand, deaths went down by 5% compared to 2016, and by a 51% compared to the 2004 peak.

"Due to the impact of antiretroviral therapy roll-out, the number of AIDS-related deaths is the lowest this century (940 000), having dropped below 1 million for the first time in 2016. Yet, the current pace of decline is not fast enough to reach the 2020 target of fewer than 500 000 AIDS-related deaths," the statement said.

Though the numbers appear encouraging, the Unaids agency is sending a wake-up call to countries, as the progress is not matching the ambitions and expectations. The agency is urging for further efforts in order to achieve the 2020 objectives. 

“We are sounding the alarm,” Michel Sidibe, Executive Director of Unaids, said. “Entire regions are falling behind, the huge gains we made for children are not being sustained, women are still most affected, resources are still not matching political commitments and key populations continue to be ignored. All these elements are halting progress and urgently need to be addressed head-on.”

Unaids says that their program 90-90-90 is achievable and must be achieved.

"Three quarters (75%) of all people living with HIV now know their HIV status. Of the people who know their status, 79% were accessing treatment in 2017, and of the people accessing treatment, 81% had suppressed viral loads," the press release stated.

“For every challenge, there is a solution. It is the responsibility of political leaders, national governments and the international community to make sufficient financial investments and establish the legal and policy environments needed to bring the work of innovators to the global scale. Doing so will create the momentum needed to reach the targets by 2020,” Sidibe concluded.

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