News / Africa

8 Million Now Receiving HIV Treatment

UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibe  (UNAIDS)
UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibe (UNAIDS)

Multimedia

Audio
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

Pundits Split Over Long-Term US Role in Afghanistan

Security pact remains condition for American presence beyond 2014; deadline criticized More

US Eyes Islamic State Threat

Officials warn that IS could pose a threat to US homeland More

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Moscow says Russian troops crossed into Ukrainian territory by mistake More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocksi
X
George Putic
August 25, 2014 4:00 PM
How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.
Video

Video Peace Returns to Ferguson as Community Tries to Heal

Thousands of people nationwide are expected to attend funeral services Monday in the U.S. Midwestern city of St. Louis, Missouri, for Michael Brown, the unarmed African-American teenager who was fatally shot by a white police officer August 9 in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. The shooting touched off days of violent demonstrations there, resulting in more than 100 arrests. VOA's Chris Simkins reports from Ferguson where the community is trying to move on after weeks of racial tension.
Video

Video Meeting in Minsk May Hinge on Putin Story

The presidents of Russia and Ukraine are expected to meet face-to-face Tuesday in Minsk, along with European leaders, for talks on the situation in Ukraine. Political analysts say the much welcomed dialogue could help bring an end to months of deadly clashes between pro-Russia separatists and Ukrainian forces in the country's southeast. But much depends on the actions of one man, Russian President Vladimir Putin. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Artists Shun Russia's Profanity Law

Russia in July enacted a law threatening fines for publicly displayed profanity in media, films, literature, music and theater. The restriction, the toughest since the Soviet era, aims to protect the Russian language and culture and has been welcomed by those who say cursing is getting out of control. But many artists reject the move as a patronizing and ineffective act of censorship in line with a string of conservative morality laws. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video British Fighters on Frontline of ISIS Information War

Security services are racing to identify the Islamic State militant who beheaded U.S. journalist James Foley in Syria. The murderer spoke English on camera with a British accent. It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for the Islamic State, also called ISIL or ISIS, alongside thousands of other foreign jihadists. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from the center of the investigation in London.

AppleAndroid