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Preventing HIV Infection
UNFPA Response 2003
Strategy for Prevention
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Conclusion: Challenges
Statements Guiding UNFPA in HIV Prevention

Strategy for Prevention

The current situation
Why focus on prevention?
Strategy for prevention
Core areas of support
Enabling environment

The current situation

Several trends emerged in 2002: infections among women are rising, a food crisis is compounding the epidemic in Southern Africa, and the epidemic is gaining speed in other regions. Globally, 5 million people were newly infected in 2002—about 14,000 each day. Stopping new infections requires the kind of action that UNFPA supports.

  • 42 million people are living with HIV/AIDS, and 90 per cent do not know that they carry the virus.

  • Of the 5 million new infections in 2002, more than 95 per cent occurred in developing countries and almost half of new infections in adults occurred among women.

  • Nearly half of new infections occur among young people aged 15 to 24, who now make up one third of those living with HIV/AIDS.

  • In 2002, AIDS claimed 3.1 million lives. It is the leading cause of death in sub-Saharan Africa, and the fourth-biggest killer worldwide.

  • A food crisis in Southern Africa is compounding the impact of HIV/AIDS with deepening poverty, hunger and illness, making it harder for people to cope.

While numbers never convey the depth of human loss, UN statistics such as these from World Population Prospects: The 2002 Revision provide some measure of the epidemic’s impact:

  • UN projections for world population at midcentury were recently revised downwards by 400 million people; half due to fewer births, and half due to higher numbers of HIV/AIDS deaths.

  • Between 2000 and 2050, 278 million people will die earlier than they would have in the absence of HIV/AIDS in the 53 most-affected countries.

  • The death toll in the five years from 2000 to 2005 will be 112 per cent higher in Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe than the number of deaths projected in the absence of AIDS.

  • By 2005, life expectancy in Botswana is estimated to be 28 years lower than it would have been in the absence of AIDS, and 33 years lower in Zimbabwe.

Lives can be saved if people are willing and able to adopt safer and healthier behaviours for their sexual and reproductive health. How? Through abstinence, by delaying the age at which young people start having sex, and through safer sexual practices, including correct and consistent use of condoms. Nations need comprehensive reproductive health information and services.

UNFPA supports reproductive health programmes in more than 140 countries-nearly all with interventions to prevent HIV infection. The Fund focuses on HIV prevention among young people and pregnant women, as well as condom programming. This work is carried out through reproductive health programmes in diverse situations, from community-based services to humanitarian assistance in times of crisis.

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