New UNAIDS Update report highlights progress in the AIDS response in Africa
May 22, 2013
As the African Union began its 21st summit in Addis Ababa, celebrating 50 years of African unity, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) has released Update a new report on the AIDS response in Africa.
The report documents the recent progress against HIV in the continent, as well as key elements of the AIDS response in a number of African countries. More than 7 million people are now on HIV treatment across Africa, with nearly 1 million added in the last year. New HIV infections and AIDS-related deaths continue to fall.
Services to stop new HIV infections have reached more women in low- and middle-income countries: 873.000 women living with HIV do now have access to treatment to prevent transmission from mother to child. According to UNAIDS, one of the brightest signs of the progress is the growing number of babies born free of HIV. From 2009 to 2011, countries have achieved a 24% reduction in new infections among children. Burundi almost halved the number of new HIV infections among children in this time period, and Botswana virtually eliminated mother-to-child transmission of HIV.
Despite positive trends, Africa continues to be the most HIV affected region of the world, accounting for 69% of people living with HIV globally. In 2011 there were still 1.8 million new HIV infections across the continent, and 1.2 million people died of AIDS-related illnesses. UNAIDS furthermore estimates that in 2011, 330,000 children became newly infected with HIV in low- and middle income countries. More than 3,1 million children and young people under the age of 15 are living with HIV in Africa. Women and girls are disproportionately affected by HIV. In sub-Saharan Africa, 58% of adults living with HIV in Africa are women.
The report attributes the successes to strong leadership and shared responsibility in Africa and among the global community. But there is still much work. Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS, argues: “As we celebrate 50 years of African unity, let us also celebrate the achievements Africa has made in responding to HIV- and recommit to pushing forward so that future generations can grow up free from AIDS.” The report urges sustained commitment to accelerate towards the shared vision of zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths.
To access the Update report, visit the UNAIDS website.