World AIDS Day 2010: Encouraging News About the Power of Prevention

1 December 2010
Author: UNFPA

World AIDS Day 2010 comes on the heels of encouraging news about the epidemic. Evidence shows that the concerted global effort to reverse the epidemic is making progress.

The most recent epidemiological data from UNAIDS shows that the AIDS epidemic is beginning to change course as the number of people newly infected with HIV is declining and AIDS-related deaths are decreasing. Together, this is contributing to the stabilization of the total number of people living with HIV in the world, at about 33.3 million in 2009.

Another new UN report, focusing on children and aids, says an AIDS-free generation is achievable by focusing on the most disadvantaged communities affected by HIV.

“We now have more reason than ever to dream of a world with zero new HIV infections, zero AIDS-related deaths, and zero discrimination,” said UNFPA Executive Director Thoraya Ahmed Obaid in her World AIDS Day statement. “Now is the time to build on the successes we have had because too many women and young people still lack access to the information and services they need to protect themselves.”

AIDS remains of the leading causes of death among women of reproductive age globally and a major cause of maternal mortality in countries with generalized epidemics. In sub-Saharan Africa, 9 per cent of maternal mortality is attributable to HIV and AIDS.

“Over the past three decades, AIDS has caused untold suffering and death,” said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in his World AIDS Day statement. “But another story has unfolded through the years, one of the global community uniting with passion to take action and save lives. These efforts are making a real difference around the world.

“Fewer people are becoming infected with HIV. Millions of people have gained access to HIV treatment. More women are now able to prevent their babies from becoming infected with HIV,” the Secretary-General added.

Reductions in the number of new HIV infections are clearly linked to an increase in knowledge about HIV, changes in social norms and the adopting of safer behaviours, according to UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé. The new findings, he said, provide evidence that HIV prevention programmes are producing significant results.

South Africa
Population : 58.1 mil
Fertility rate
Maternal Mortality Ratio
Contraceptives prevalence rate
Population aged 10-24
Youth secondary school enrollment
Boys 86%
Girls 84%

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