AIDS-related Deaths Decreasing But Number Of Total Infections Still Rising

The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) has announced that there are 19.5 million people on life-saving treatment and that AIDS-related deaths halved since 2005.

The report shows that in 2016 more than two thirds (70%) of people living with HIV now know their HIV status. Of the people who know their status, 77% were accessing treatment, and of the people accessing treatment, 82% were virally supressed, protecting their health and helping to prevent transmission of the virus

UNAIDS released this new report showing that for the first time the scales have tipped: more than half of all people living with HIV (53%) now have access to HIV treatment and AIDS-related deaths have almost halved since 2005. In 2016, 19.5 million of the 36.7 million people living with HIV had access to treatment, and AIDS-related deaths have fallen from 1.9 million in 2005 to 1 million in 2016. Provided that scale-up continues, this progress puts the world on track to reach the global target of 30 million people on treatment by 2020.

“We met the 2015 target of 15 million people on treatment and we are on track to double that number to 30 million and meet the 2020 target,” said Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS. “We will continue to scale up to reach everyone in need and honour our commitment of leaving no one behind.”

The region showing the most progress is eastern and southern Africa, which has been most affected by HIV and which accounts for more than half of all people living with HIV. Since 2010, AIDS-related deaths have declined by 42%. New HIV infections have declined by 29%, including a 56% drop in new HIV infections among children over the same period, a remarkable achievement resulting from HIV treatment and prevention efforts that is putting eastern and southern Africa on track towards ending its AIDS epidemic.

The report also shows that, globally, new HIV infections are declining, but not at the pace needed to meet global targets. Globally, new HIV infections declined by 16% from 2010 to 2016, to 1.8 million [1.6 million–2.1 million]. Declines were estimated in 69 countries, in the majority of which treatment scale-up has been implemented alongside an increase in the availability of combination HIV prevention services and in some countries condom use. However, alarming increases have been seen in new HIV infections in eastern Europe and central Asia.

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