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

Taliban's New Leader Says Jihad Will Continue

Top US Afghan diplomat also meets with Pakistani, Afghan officials following news of Mullah Omar's death More

Video US Landmark Pushes Endangered Species

People gathered in streets, on rooftops in Manhattan to see image highlights that covered 33 floors of Empire State Building More

World’s Widest Suspension Bridge Being Built Over Bosphorus

Once built, Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge will span 2 kilometers with about 1.5 kilometers over water, and will be longest suspension bridge in world carrying rail system More

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.
Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Communityi
X
Sharon Behn
August 03, 2015 2:23 PM
A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs