News / Health

    UN: AIDS Response at Crossroads 30 Years On

    Michel  Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS (file photo)
    Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS (file photo)
    Margaret Besheer

    A new U.N. report says that despite significant gains in the prevention and treatment of HIV - the virus that causes AIDS - 7,000 people are still infected each day, 1,000 of whom are children. Although that number is high, it reflects a nearly 25 percent decline in new infections worldwide in the past decade.

    The study, which marks 30 years since the global AIDS epidemic began, touts the progress made in battling the virus, but notes that there is still a long way to go to reach the goal of “triple zero” - that is zero new infections, zero discrimination against those with the virus, and zero AIDS-related deaths.

    UNAIDS estimates that approximately half the 34 million people living with HIV do not know they are infected. UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé says this is a major problem, because early treatment can lead to a longer life and prevent transmission to others.

    “With access to treatment, AIDS have moved from what was effectively a death sentence to a chronic disease," said Sidibé.

    For those who do know their status, access to treatment is growing. The report notes that some 6.6 million people in low- and middle-income countries were receiving antiretroviral treatment at the end of last year - nearly 22 times the number in 2001.

    Sidibé underscored the importance of early treatment, citing the results of a recent study at the U.S.-based National Institutes of Health.

    “Two weeks ago the discovery from NIH showing clearly that when you are putting people on treatment early [it] is a game changer. It is first showing that this wrong dichotomy which was existing between treatment versus prevention is not anymore useful," he said. "Because you can reduce by 96 percent - I said 96 percent - the number of new infection[s] if you are able to treat people early. And you can reduce also the side effects, which is very important because we know that the death rate is mainly higher when people are not put early on treatment.”

    The report notes that while infection rates are down, treatment is expanding and education and awareness are growing, these gains could be reversible without sufficient funding and political commitment.

    Next week, some 30 presidents and prime ministers will join other international leaders at U.N. headquarters to take stock of current commitments and chart the future course of the global AIDS response.

    U.N. Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro says the high-level meeting will help propel the international community toward the “triple zero” goal.

    “We expect to have concrete steps whereby 2015, by 2020, we are in a world where HIV and AIDS is not stigmatized, but we have reduced new infections, we have reduced discrimination - we have eliminated discrimination - and we have eliminated AIDS-related deaths," said Migiro.

    The deputy secretary-general underscored the international community is poised to move farther and faster toward creating a world free of HIV and AIDS.

    Aids Map

    You May Like

    Escalation of Media Crackdown in Turkey Heightens Concerns

    Critics see 'a new dark age' as arrests of journalists, closures of media outlets by Erdogan government mount

    Russia Boasts of Troop Buildup on Flank, Draws Flak

    Russian military moves counter to efforts to de-escalate tensions, State Department says

    Video Iraqis Primed to March on Mosul, Foreign Minister Says

    Iraqi FM Ibrahim al-Jaafari tells VOA the campaign will meet optimistic expectations, even though US officials remain cautious

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    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.
    Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Processi
    X
    Katherine Gypson
    July 27, 2016 6:21 PM
    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora