News / Africa

HIV Infections Drop Sharply Among Young People

Joe DeCapua

There’s good news in the latest report from UNAIDS.  It says there’s been a 25 percent drop in HIV prevalence among young people in 15 of the most severely affected countries.

In eight countries - Ivory Coast, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Namibia, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe - “significant HIV prevalence declines have been accompanied by positive changes in sexual behavior among young people.”

Efforts paying off

UNAIDS Deputy Executive Director Paul De Lay says the report describes the improvement as a “prevention revolution.”

“We are seeing that investments in HIV prevention are showing results,” he says.  “Fifteen countries have met the 25 percent reduction in HIV infections.  That’s the target that was set at the U.N. General Assembly’s Special Session on AIDS in 2001.”

A severely or most-affected country is defined as having more than a two percent of prevalence in the 15 to 29 age group.

De Lay says, “These positive results have happened because young people are adopting safer sexual behaviors; and we’re talking about the traditional sexual behaviors… essentially delaying sexual debut, having fewer sexual partners and increased use of condoms.”


The report’s being released prior to next week’s XVIII International AIDS Conference in Vienna.  De Lay says UNAIDS is responding to a changing world.

“With the rising treatment bill, countries in economic crisis and increasing prevention needs, the world is demanding change in the AIDS response.  And we here at UNAIDS, with our partners, are working to reshape the AIDS response,” says De Lay.

He says one of the highlights of the UNAIDS report is a Zogby survey in 25 countries looking at public response and awareness of the epidemic.

“Some of the key findings are that AIDS continues to be one of the top health priorities for the general public in all regions of the world,” he says, “The majority believe that the AIDS epidemic can be pushed back measurably by 2015.”

The Zogby poll, however, shows that half of those questioned say a lack of funding is a major obstacle.

De Lay says, ”More than 70 percent say resources should go to HIV prevention."  This highlights the importance of stopping new infections.

Treatment 2.0

UNAIDS has unveiled what it says is a “radically simplified” treatment platform, or strategy, called Treatment 2.0.  Dr. Bernhard Schwartlander of UNAIDS says it builds on the success on anti-retroviral therapy of recent years.

“The current approaches are just far too complex and too complicated.  And it will be impossible to reach the additional 10 million people that currently need treatment.  And it will be impossible to sustain and pay for further access in the years to come,” he says.

Treatment 2.0 offers a new, more affordable approach.

“At a very high level it is a radical simplification to not only reach more people more quickly, but also eventually to also save money because it will be cheaper,” he says.

It calls for a “better pill,” a tablet containing multiple anti-retrovirals that “doesn’t lead to resistance.”  When HIV builds up resistance to antiretroviral therapy, much more expensive second-line treatment is needed.

Schwartlander says the development of a better pill would lead to “much simpler diagnostics and treatment monitoring.” which would be cheaper.

The strategy also calls for a simpler and easier HIV test to determine whether a person is infected.

You May Like

Syrian Rebels Poised for Anti-Russia Collaboration

Forty-one insurgent groups issue joint statement vowing retaliation for Russian air offensives More

Political Maneuver Revives Export-Import Bank's Chances

Parliamentary tactic gets bill out of committee, but it faces opposition in the Senate More

Beijing Warns US on S. China Sea Patrols

Warning follows news reports Thursday that US military is planning to sail warships close to artificial islands Beijing has been aggressively building More

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdrawsi
Jim Malone
October 09, 2015 12:32 AM
The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdraws

The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video German, US Officials Investigate Volkswagen

German officials have taken steps to restore some of the reputation their car industry has lost after a recent Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. Authorities have searched Volkswagen headquarters and other locations in an effort to identify the culprits in the creation of software that helps cheat on emission tests. Meanwhile, a group of lawmakers in Washington held a hearing to get to the bottom of the cheating strategy that was first discovered in the United States. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Why Are Gun Laws So Hard for Congress to Tackle?

Since taking office, President Barack Obama has spoken out or issued statements about 15 mass shootings. The most recent shooting, in which 10 people were killed at a community college, sparked outrage over the nation's gun laws. But changing those laws isn't as easy as many think. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.

Video Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugees

Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Iraqi-Kurdish Teachers Vow to Continue Protest

Sixteen people were injured when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse teachers and other public employees who took to the streets in Iraq’s Kurdish north, demanding their salaries from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). VOA’s Dilshad Anwar, in Sulaimaniya, caught up with protesting teachers who say they have not been paid for three months. Parke Brewer narrates his report.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

VOA Blogs