(RxWiki News) HIV/AIDS has affected millions of people around the world for the past few decades. And now it's in steady decline.
A recent report and prevention plan released by UNAIDS (the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS) on the progress of global HIV/AIDs reduction outlines ten different targets to reach by 2015.
The report announced that new HIV infections in adults and children have been reduced by approximately one-third since 2001. In addition, there has been a 20 percent increase in global access to antiretroviral therapy (ART) from 2011 to 2012.
UNAIDS revealed that its two main goals are for 15 million people to have access to ART and to reduce the transmission of HIV by 50 percent by 2015.
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In 2012, there were approximately 2.3 million children and adults who became newly infected with HIV. However, this number represents a 30 percent decrease in new infections since 2001.
For children alone, the report reveals that in 2012 there were only 260,000 new HIV infections, representing a decrease of over 50 percent since 2001. In addition, AIDS-related deaths have decreased by 30 percent since 2005.
Access to ART is growing, with the report stating that almost 10 million people worldwide had access to treatment by the end of 2012 — representing a 20 percent increase in just one year. Recent evidence has shown that ART has the potential to reduce the risk of HIV transmission up to 96 percent.
Because of the growing access to treatment, the UN officially set a goal to make ART available to at least 15 million people worldwide — a goal the UN hopes to surpass until HIV treatment is available to anyone and everyone who needs it.
"Not only can we meet the 2015 target of 15 million people on HIV treatment — we must also go beyond and have the vision and commitment to ensure no one is left behind," explains Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS.
However, the report also mentions that there are still many challenges in reaching this goal, including overcoming human rights issues like gender inequality, HIV criminalization laws, and social discrimination that make it difficult to help high-risk populations. The report maintains that there is still much to be done in terms of spreading awareness on safe sex practices, violence against women and girls, and drug usage.
The report goes into further detail on 10 specific targets that UNAIDS hopes to reach by 2015:
- Reduce sexual transmission of HIV by 50 percent
- Reduce the transmission of HIV among people who inject drugs by 50 percent
- Eliminate HIV infections among children and reduce maternal deaths
- Reach 15 million people living with HIV with lifesaving antiretroviral treatment
- Reduce tuberculosis deaths among people living with HIV by 50 percent
- Close the global AIDS resource gap
- Eliminate gender inequalities and gender-based abuse and violence and increase the capacity of women and girls to protect themselves from HIV
- Eliminate HIV-related stigma, discrimination, punitive laws and practices
- Eliminate HIV-related restrictions on entry, stay and residence
- Strengthen HIV integration
This report was released on September 23 and presented at the United Nations General Assembly on September 25 in Geneva, Switzerland.