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

Polls Open in Scotland Independence Vote

As race to persuade undecided voters continues, 'No' voters say they believe life in Scotland will slowly improve, 'Yes' vote not worth the risk More

China-India Border Standoff Continues as Leaders Hold Summit

New Delhi accuses hundreds of Chinese soldiers of illegally entering Indian territory in disputed region of Ladakh More

Ukrainian Activist in Despair About Future of Her Country

IrIna Dovgan, accused of being a spy and tortured by pro-Russian separatists, is appealing to UN Human Rights Council to support her country More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Wateri
X
September 17, 2014 8:44 PM
Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid