Significant Drops Seen In AIDS-Related Deaths, New HIV Infections, UNAIDS Report Shows
UNAIDS on Monday released its World AIDS Day Report 2011 (.pdf), “which shows more people than ever living with HIV, but deaths and new infections steadily dropping,” the Guardian reports (Boseley, 11/21). The number of AIDS-related deaths in 2010 was 21 percent lower than its peak in 2005, and the number of new HIV infections in 2010 also was down 21 percent from its peak in 1997, according to the report, BBC News notes (11/21). The report credits more widespread treatment, behavior change and male circumcision for significant drops in the number of new cases, according to the Guardian (11/21). “Of the 14.2 million people eligible for treatment in low- and middle-income countries, around 6.6 million, or 47 percent, are now receiving it, UNAIDS said, and 11 poor- and mid-income countries now have universal access to HIV treatment, with coverage of 80 percent or more,” Reuters notes, adding, “This compares with 36 percent of the 15 million people needing treatment in 2009 who got AIDS drugs” (Kelland, 11/21).
“UNAIDS [Executive] Director Michel Sidibe said the past 12 months had been a ‘game-changing year’ in the global AIDS fight,” Reuters writes, adding, “‘We’ve never had a year when there has been so much science, so much leadership and such results in one year,’ Sidibe said in a telephone interview from UNAIDS in Geneva” (11/21). But “Sidibe told the Guardian money was a concern,” according to the newspaper (11/21). “UNAIDS has mapped a new framework for AIDS investments which are focused on high-impact, evidence-based, high-value strategies,” according to a UNAIDS press release, which adds, “Using the framework to achieve universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support by 2015 requires a scaling up of funding to US$ 22-24 billion in 2015.” However, “[a]t the end of 2010 around US$ 15 billion was available for the AIDS response in low- and middle-income countries,” the release notes (11/21). “In its strategy for the next few years, UNAIDS says it is working toward zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths,” but “[c]ritics say that the body’s aim of wiping out the disease is overly optimistic, however, considering there is no vaccine, millions remain untreated and donations have slumped amid the economic crisis,” the Associated Press/Washington Post writes (11/21).