News / Africa

8 Million Now Receiving HIV Treatment

UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibe (UNAIDS)
UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibe (UNAIDS)
Joe DeCapua
More than eight million HIV positive people around the world are now receiving antiretroviral drug therapy, a 20 percent increase over the past year. The Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS, or UNAIDS, has released a new report prior to the 19th International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C.



The latest UNAIDS report – Together We Will End AIDS – says nearly 1.4 million people were added to the treatment rolls last year alone. There are now more than 34-million people living with HIV. That’s more than ever, the report says, thanks to the greater availability of life-saving drugs.

“I personally believe that it is a new era – new era for treatment, new era for prevention. But it is also from my personal reading a beginning of a journey to getting to zero,” said Michel Sidibe, executive director of UNAIDS.

He said it’s a new era of shared responsibility, mutual accountability and global solidarity.

“These three pillars will be certainly shaping not just our discussion during the next few days, but will shape also probably our response in the coming days and years,” he said.

He added the money spent to battle HIV/AIDS was money well spent. Global investments for HIV reached nearly $17 billion in 2011.

“We are talking more and more of cost effectiveness, efficiency, reducing unit costs of producing any results. We are trying to make sure that the framework, investment framework, we are using with the countries becomes smarter,” said Sidibe.

Low and middle income countries have greatly increased their own investment in fighting the epidemic. Domestic spending on the disease now exceeds international investment for the first time. For example, South Africa invested $2 billion last year.

Much of the international funding for treatment, research and prevention comes from PEPFAR, the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Dr. Eric Goosby, who’s in charge of PEPFAR, said, “Our resource allocation and prioritization -- shifts that over the last three years we have aggressively tried to institute in our PEPFAR programs -- have begun to show the fruit of that labor. Moving to high risk populations - targeting key populations -- to ensure that they are identified in a safe setting, in a safe space, to allow them to be entered and retained in care over time.”

PEPFAR works through partnerships with national governments, giving them more say in tailoring programs.

“I think that the numbers that UNAIDS is presenting to the world reassure me that we are positioned to know, monitor and understand the data as it comes in. And we have moved I think over the last few years to be much more nimble in our ability to reposition our programming,’ said Goosby.

But there’s still much to do and billions of dollars more are needed, according to UNAIDS.

UNAIDS reports 1.7-million people died from AIDS-related causes in 2011. That’s a decline of 24 percent since deaths reached their peak in 2005. TB remains the leading cause of death among people living with HIV, as weakened immune systems make them more vulnerable to the infection. Also, 2.5-million people were newly infected with HIV last year.

What’s more, young people – those between 15 and 24 years old – account for 40 percent of all new adult HIV infections. And most of those infections are among young women. Surveys show that many young people still lack knowledge about HIV prevention and transmission.

Also, HIV positive people in parts of Asia and Eastern Europe still lack access to treatment. And infections are rising among men-who-have-sex-with-men, intravenous drugs users and sexworkers. 

Nevertheless, the UNAIDS report says efforts are on track to have 15 million people on treatment by 2015.

You May Like

Photogallery Strong Words Start, May End, S. African Xenophobic Attacks

President Jacob Zuma publicly condemned rise in attacks on foreign nationals but critics say leadership has been less than welcoming to foreign residents More

Video Family Waits to Hear Charges Against Reporter Jailed in Iran

Reports in Iran say Jason Rezaian has been charged with espionage, but brother tells VOA indictment has not been made public More

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Action to Stabilize Libya

Amnesty International says multinational concerted humanitarian effort must be enacted to address crisis; decrepit boats continue to bring thousands of new arrivals daily More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?i
X
Steve Sandford
April 17, 2015 12:50 AM
Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Military Action to Stabilize Libya

Thousands more migrants have arrived on the southern shores of Italy from North Africa in the past two days. Authorities say they expect the total number of arrivals this year to far exceed previous levels, and the government has said military action in Libya might be necessary to stem the flow. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Putin Accuses Kyiv of ‘Cutting Off’ Eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual televised call-in program, again denied there were any Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. He also said the West was trying to ‘contain’ Russia with sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports on reactions to the president’s four-hour TV appearance.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Xenophobic Violence Sweeps South Africa

South Africa, long a haven for African immigrants, has been experiencing the worst xenophobic violence in years, with at least five people killed and hundreds displaced in recent weeks. From Johannesburg, VOA’s Anita Powell brings us this report.
Video

Video Sierra Leone President Koroma Bemoans Ebola Impact on Economy

In an interview with VOA's Shaka Ssali on Wednesday, President Ernest Koroma said the outbreak undermined his government’s efforts to boost and restructure the economy after years of civil war.
Video

Video Protester Lands Gyrocopter on Capitol Lawn

A 61-year-old mailman from Florida landed a small aircraft on the Capitol lawn in Washington to bring attention to campaign finance reform and what he says is government corruption. Wednesday's incident was one in a string of security breaches on U.S. government property. Zlatica Hoke reports the gyrocopter landing violated a no-fly zone.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Badly Burned Ukrainian Boy Bravely Fights Back

A 9-year-old Ukrainian boy has returned to his native country after intensive treatment in the United States for life-threatening burns. Volodia Bubela, burned in a house fire almost a year ago, battled back at a Boston hospital, impressing doctors with his bravery. Faith Lapidus narrates this report from VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko.
Video

Video US Maternity Leave Benefits Much Less Than Many Countries

It was almost 20 years ago that representatives of 189 countries met at a UN conference in Beijing and adopted a plan of action to achieve gender equality around the world. Now, two decades later, the University of California Los Angeles World Policy Analysis Center has issued a report examining what the Beijing Platform for Action has achieved. From Los Angeles, Elizabeth Lee has more.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.
Video

Video Sidemen to Famous Blues Artists Record Their Own CD

Legendary blues singer BB King was briefly hospitalized last week and the 87-year-old “King of the Blues” may not be touring much anymore. But some of the musicians who have played with him and other blues legends have now released their own CD in an attempt to pass the torch to younger fans... and put their own talents out front as well. VOA’s Greg Flakus has followed this project over the past year and filed this report from Houston.
Video

Video Iran-Saudi Rivalry Is Stoking Conflict in Yemen

Iran has proposed a peace plan to end the conflict in Yemen, but the idea has received little support from regional rivals like Saudi Arabia. They accuse Tehran of backing the Houthi rebels, who have forced Yemen’s president to flee to Riyadh, and have taken over swaths of Yemen. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA, analysts say the conflict is being fueled by the Sunni-Shia rivalry between the two regional powers.

VOA Blogs