UNAIDS Report Shows Progress in Battle Against HIV/AIDS

UNAIDS released a new report today in advance of World AIDS Day showing considerable progress towards reducing new HIV infections overall, and eliminating pediatric AIDS in particular.

Since 2001, the number of new HIV infections worldwide has fallen by 700,000. More people than ever have access to antiretroviral medications – HIV treatment access has grown by 63% since 2009, and 54% of people in low- and middle-income countries eligible for HIV treatment are receiving the drugs they need to stay alive and protect their families.

The data also illustrates that we’re beginning to win the fight against pediatric HIV/AIDS.  New HIV infections among children have fallen by 24% over the past two years, and the number of children infected fell by 40% in six countries, two of which the Foundation works in: Burundi, Kenya, Namibia, South Africa, Togo, and Zambia.

Coverage of effective prevention-of-mother-to-child-transmission (PMTCT) drug regimens reached 57% in low-and middle-income countries in 2011, and 59% of women in sub-Saharan Africa – home to the vast majority of pregnant women living with HIV – received treatment or preventative care during pregnancy or childbirth.

Here are more statistics from the UNAIDS report:

Despite the encouraging news, there are still challenges on the road to eliminating HIV/AIDS. Rates of HIV/AIDS have increased in the Middle East, North Africa, and Eastern Europe. And only 30% of eligible pregnant women living with HIV are receiving antiretroviral therapy. The report also mentioned the pediatric treatment gap as a continued concern.

We’ve come a long way, but there’s much work to be done.

Jane Coaston is Media Relations Coordinator for the Foundation, based in Washington, D.C.