News / Health

UN: Global AIDS Epidemic Can Be Tamed by 2030

A doctor draws blood to check for HIV/AIDS at a mobile testing unit in a suburb of Uganda’s capital, Kampala, May 16, 2014.
A doctor draws blood to check for HIV/AIDS at a mobile testing unit in a suburb of Uganda’s capital, Kampala, May 16, 2014.
Reuters

New HIV infections and deaths from AIDS are decreasing, making it possible to control the epidemic by 2030 and eventually end it “in every region, in every country,” the United Nations said Wednesday.

“More than ever before, there is hope that ending AIDS is possible. However, a business-as-usual approach or simply sustaining the AIDS response at its current pace cannot end the epidemic,” the organization’s UNAIDS program said in a new global report issued ahead next week’s international AIDS conference in Melbourne, Australia.

It said the number of people infected with HIV was stabilizing at around 35 million worldwide. The epidemic had killed some 39 million of the 78 million people it has affected since it began in the 1980s.

“The AIDS epidemic can be ended in every region, every country, in every location, in every population and every community,” Michel Sidibe, UNAIDS’ director, said in the report. “There are multiple reasons why there is hope and conviction about this goal.”

The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) that causes AIDS can be transmitted via blood, breast milk and by semen during sex, but it can be kept in check with cocktails of drugs known as antiretroviral therapy or ART.

UNAIDS said that at the end of 2013, some 12.9 million HIV positive people had access to antiretroviral therapy – a dramatic improvement on the 10 million who were in treatment just one year earlier. Only five million got AIDS drugs in 2010.

Infection, death rates decline

Since 2001, new HIV infections have fallen by 38 percent, UNAIDS reported. AIDS deaths have fallen 35 percent since peaking in 2005.

The U.N. report said ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030 would mean that the spread of HIV was being controlled or contained, with significant declines in ill health, stigma, deaths and the number of AIDS orphans.

“It means increased life expectancy, unconditional acceptance of people's diversity and rights, and increased productivity and reduced costs as the impact diminishes,” the report said.

According to UNAIDS, $19.1 billion was available from all sources for the AIDS response in 2013. It estimated a need for at least $22 billion a year by 2015.

Redoubled effort encouraged

But entire countries are being left behind, facing the triple threat of high HIV burden, low treatment coverage and no or little decline in new HIV infections. 

Fifteen countries account for more than 75 percent of the global burden of new HIV infections, the report shows. Three countries in sub-Saharan Africa – Nigeria, South Africa and Uganda – account for 48 percent of all new HIV infections. 

Sidibe told VOA that war and struggling government healthcare systems pose barriers to testing and treatment in the Democratic Republic of Congo and some other African nations.

He said the international community should seize the opportunity to turn the epidemic around.

“We have a fragile five-year window to build on the rapid results that been made,” he said. “If we accelerate all HIV scale-up by 2020, we will be on track to end the epidemic by 2030. If not, we risk significantly increasing the time it would take, adding a decade, if not more.”

He said controlling the epidemic by 2030 would avert 18 million new HIV infections and 11.2 million AIDS deaths between 2013 and 2030.

In 2011, U.N. member states agreed to a target of getting HIV treatment to 15 million people by 2015. As countries scaled up treatment coverage, and evidence showed how treating HIV early also reduces its spread, the World Health Organization (WHO) set new guidelines last year, expanding the number of people needing treatment by more than 10 million.

Jennifer Cohn, medical director of the access campaign for the charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF, or Doctors Without Borders), said millions of HIV positive people still do not get the drugs they needed.

“Providing life-saving HIV treatment to nearly 12 million people in the developing world is a significant achievement, but more than half of people in need still do not have access,” she said. “We know that early treatment helps prevent transmission of HIV and keeps people healthy; we need to respond to HIV in all contexts and make treatment accessible to everyone in need as soon as possible.”

VOA's Lisa Schlein contributed to this report from Geneva, Switzerland.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants 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.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs