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Leadership, Cooperation Responsible For ‘Remarkable Progress’ Against HIV/AIDS In Africa, UNAIDS Report Says

“As the African Union (AU) begins its 21st summit in Addis Ababa, celebrating 50 years of African unity, [UNAIDS] has released “Update,” a new report [.pdf] on the AIDS response in Africa, documenting the remarkable recent progress against HIV on the continent,” a UNAIDS press release reports. “The number of people in Africa receiving antiretroviral treatment increased from less than one million in 2005 to 7.1 million in 2012, with nearly one million added in the last year alone,” the press release states, adding, “AIDS-related deaths are also continuing to fall — reducing by 32 percent from 2005 to 2011 as are the numbers of new HIV infections which have fallen by 33 percent from 2001 to 2011” (5/21). The report “attributes this success to strong leadership and shared responsibility in Africa and among the global community,” according to the U.N. News Centre. The report “also urges sustained commitment to ensure Africa achieves zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths,” the news service writes.

“Despite positive trends, Africa continues to be more affected by HIV than any other region of the world, and accounts for 69 percent of people living with HIV globally,” the U.N. News Centre writes, noting, “In 2011 there were still 1.8 million new HIV infections across the continent, and 1.2 million people died of AIDS-related illnesses.” The news service says “[t]he report also stresses AU leadership is essential to reverse the epidemic.” At the ongoing AU Summit, “AIDS Watch Africa, a platform for advocacy and accountability for the responses to AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria founded by African leaders in 2001, will review progress on health governance, financing, and access to quality medicines, among other areas, and measure whether national, regional, continental and global stakeholders have met their commitments,” the news service writes, noting, “The AU, UNAIDS and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) will also launch the first accountability report on the AU-G8 partnership, focusing on progress towards ending AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria in Africa” (5/21). In the report, UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé “emphasizes that sustained attention to the AIDS response post-2015 will enhance progress on other global health priorities,” the press release states (5/21).