Monday, November 21, 2011

UN Reports Drop in HIV Infection Rates and HIV-Related Deaths

Today, the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) reported progress in the world’s fight against the AIDS epidemic. The study found a significant reduction in contraction of the disease, a reduction in HIV-related deaths, and an increase in access to treatment for the disease.

There were 2.7 million new HIV infections in 2010 and 34 million people living with the disease. This is the lowest increase since 1997 and reflects a significant drop in those dying from AIDS.  Sub-Saharan Africa remains the region with the highest prevalence of HIV/AIDS - 68 percent of those living with the disease live in this region - but the report showed that the greatest declines in HIV prevalence were in countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

The UN credits behavioral changes for the improvements including greater access to antiretroviral treatment, use of condoms, and fewer sexual partners per individual.  We still have a lot to achieve.  Nearly half of those eligible for antiretroviral therapy do not have access to the treatment, and nearly 1.5 million people die from HIV-related deaths each year.  However, the UNAIDS report shows significant progress in our fight against the disease and helps guide the path for the future.

-Kjersti Hall