A few days before the 19th International AIDS Conference opens next week, UNAIDS has launched Together We Will End AIDS, which reports a 20 per cent reduction in the new cases of HIV compared to 2001. AIDS killed 1.7 million people in 2011, compared to the peak of 2.3 million in 2005, according to the most recent estimates.
The report also provides estimates on numbers of people receiving antiretroviral treatment, which is credited for the decline in AIDS-related deaths, and new infections among children and young people, as well as an overview of international and domestic HIV investments and the need for greater value for money and sustainability.
Significant progress has been made in reducing new HIV infections in children, according to the report. Since 2009, new infections in children have fallen by an estimated 24 per cent. Some 330,000 children were newly infected in 2011, which is about half as many as at the peak of the epidemic in 2003.
"This new report published by UNAIDS, of which we are a co-sponsor, demonstrates clearly that strategic and sustained actions against HIV are working.´ said UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin. “Half of pregnant women testing positive for HIV are already receiving treatment and counselling to help prevent transmission of the infection to their infants. However, we can do better in terms of escalating our efforts to achieve a world of zero mother-to-child transmission of the virus, including by preventing HIV during pregnancy and offering rights-based family planning services."
UNFPA works to eliminate mother-to-child transmission of the virus by supporting a four-pronged strategy that includes prevention of the virus in mothers, prevention of unintended pregnancies in women with HIV, treatment with antiretroviral drugs and safer infant feeding.
The new report shows that young people aged 15 to 24, especially young women, remain vulnerable Young people overall account for 40 per cent of the 2.2 million new infections among adults in 2011, with infection rates twice as high as among their male counterparts.
"Young people continue to be the group most affected by the epidemic,” said Dr. Osotimehin. “They also have the greatest capacity to turn it around. That's one of the reasons why it is crucial that their rights are protected and that they are provided with appropriate sexuality education and access to reproductive health commodities, particularly condoms.”
The full report, as well as fact sheets, infographics and videos are available on the UNAIDS website.