News / Health

Differing Levels of Progress Make Idea of 'AIDS in Africa' Obsolete

FILE - Ugandan HIV/AIDS patients listen as a Mbuya Community Outreach doctor explains how to start anti-retroviral treatment, near Kampala.
FILE - Ugandan HIV/AIDS patients listen as a Mbuya Community Outreach doctor explains how to start anti-retroviral treatment, near Kampala.
Reuters
Progress in the battle against AIDS is widely divergent in different African countries, so much so that to talk about “AIDS in Africa” as one epidemic needing a single approach has become an anachronism, campaigners said on Tuesday.
 
In an analysis of the state of the global fight against the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and AIDS, the advocacy group ONE said that while some African countries had reached a “tipping point” against the disease, others lag far behind.
 
More than 35 million people worldwide are infected with HIV, which causes AIDS. Of that 35 million, 25 million are in sub-Saharan Africa. Yet within Africa, rates of HIV and AIDS vary widely.
 
“Our analysis shows major distinctions between leaders and laggards, and that a one-size-fits-all approach to tackling AIDS on the continent does not make sense,” said Erin Hohlfelder, ONE's global health policy director.
 
“It's no longer useful to talk about AIDS from a continent-wide perspective… It's time to retire the phrase, 'AIDS in Africa',” continued Hohlfelder.
 
ONE is an advocacy group co-founded by U2 front man Bono, committed to fighting to end poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa.
 
According to its report, 16 countries in sub-Saharan Africa have reached what experts describe as the “beginning of the end of AIDS” - a point when the total number of new HIV infections is lower than the number of patients newly receiving AIDS treatment in the same year.
 
“Significant Progress”
 
Leading the pack are countries such as Ghana, Malawi and Zambia, where governments, international donors and civil society leaders have worked together, the report said, and as a result have made dramatic progress against HIV/AIDS.
 
Yet at the same time, other countries, such as Cameroon, Nigeria and Togo, lag far behind, often hampered by a lack of political will to tackle HIV, inadequate funding, poor delivery systems and stigma against marginalized populations where HIV infections are more frequent.
 
“Increasingly, both in terms of how we talk about the disease and also how we fight it, it makes more sense to look country by country, even community by community… Then, we can think about what progress we've made, what challenges remain and how best to put resources into tackling them,” said Hohlfelder.
 
Looking globally, the ONE report found significant progress towards achieving “the beginning of the end of AIDS”.
 
“If current rates of progress continue, the world can reach that milestone by 2015,” the report stated.
 
Hohlfelder cautioned, however, that getting there is “not a foregone conclusion”, but depends on donors and affected countries doing more together to ensure HIV treatment and prevention services reach all those who need them.
 
The ONE report said one of the most serious headwinds in the global HIV/AIDS fight is a lack of money.
 
According to UNAIDS, there is a $3 to $5 billion shortfall in the annual $22 to $24 billion needed to turn the tide against the disease.
 
Funding from international donors for AIDS has reached a plateau, and the majority of African governments are also not meeting their commitments to spend 15 percent of their budgets on health.
 
“In many ways, the AIDS fight is struggling as a result of its successes,” Hohlfelder said. “Because it is no longer perceived as a global health emergency, but rather a chronic and manageable disease, the fight has lost some of its political momentum.”

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regreti
X
Zana Omer
March 28, 2015 1:19 AM
The Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

The Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Virginia Tavern Takes Patrons Back to Medieval Times

European martial arts are not widely practiced and are unknown by most people. A tavern in Old Town Alexandria, outside Washington, wants to change this by promoting these fighting techniques from medieval times. Through combining visual arts, martial arts and culinary arts, this tavern brings medieval history back to life. VOA's Yang Lin and Helen Wu report.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More