UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has released a new report on HIV/AIDS that says the epidemic is still outpacing the response to it. The UN report says despite encouraging news that the epidemic is beginning to be contained in some countries, it continues to expand worldwide.
Dr. Paul delay is the director of the Department of Evaluation at UNAIDS in Geneva. Dr. Delay is currently in New York for today’s release of the report. He spoke to English to Africa reporter Joe De Capua about progress that is being made against the disease.
He says, “We’re seeing a lot more political commitment to fighting the epidemic and particularly in countries where the epidemic is just beginning, like in China…we’re seeing some services going up. We’re seeing that more people are going in and getting tested for HIV. Some of this is because they’re aware that treatments are available. We’re seeing more pregnant women getting services to prevent the transmission to their infant. That’s gone up remarkably, but the total receiving it is still less than 10 percent.”
Southern Africa, where HIV prevalence rates already high, is seeing increases in some areas. The rate in Swaziland is now 42 percent, up about 5-percentage point in the last three years. Nigeria is also of major concern because of its large population and the effect it could have in the West Africa region.
Also, while the number of people receiving anti-retroviral has increased, it is still relatively small compared to the number of people infected.