AIDS related deaths and new HIV infections are on a global decline. The number of AIDS related deaths and HIV infections are at their lowest since the peak of the diseases. The rate of HIV infections have dropped by 21% since 1997 and rate of AIDS related deaths have dropped by 21% since 2005. Read more after the jump.
Globally, the number of new HIV infections as well as deaths related to AIDS have dropped to their lowest levels since the epidemic reached its peak, according to a new report issued by UNAIDS (Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS), titled 2011 UNAIDS World AIDS Day report. The authors state that this has been a game-changing year for worldwide fight against AIDS.
In comparison to 1997, the rate of new HIV infections has dropped by 21%, while AIDS-related deaths have fallen by 21% since 2005.
Michel SidibÃ©, Executive Director of UNAIDS, said:
“Even in a very difficult financial crisis, countries are delivering results in the AIDS response. We have seen a massive scale up in access to HIV treatment which has had a dramatic effect on the lives of people everywhere.”
According to estimates by the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNAIDS, 6.6 million of the 14.2 million individuals who are eligible for treatment in developing nations had access to antiretroviral therapy last year, i.e. 47% of the total. This represents 1.35 million more people than the year before.
The report also reveals that HIV treatments are having a considerable impact on bringing down new HIV infection numbers, according to some early signs.
Botswana as an example
The patterns of sexual behavior in Botswana have stayed pretty much the same since 2000. In 2000 less than 5% of HIV-positive individuals had access to treatment, compared to over 80% since 2009.
The number of newly diagnosed HIV infections has fallen by over 2/3 since the end of the 1990s. According to reliable data, current rates of new HIV infections in the country are between 30% to 50% lower than they would have been had antiretroviral therapy not been available.
People infected with HIV who are being treated with antiretroviral medications have virtually undetectable levels of HIV, meaning their chances of transmitting HIV to uninfected sexual partners are considerably lower.
UNAIDS cited recent studies which showed that HIV transmission among couples can be up to 96% lower if the infected person is being treated with antiretrovirals.
At the end of 2010:
Between 31.6 million and 25.2 million individuals lived with HIV globally
Between 2.4 million and 2.9 million new infections were reported worldwide in 2010
Between 1.6 million and 1.9 million people died from an AIDS-related illness in 2010 globally
HIV-positive individuals are living for much longer, while the number of people dying every year because of an AIDS-related illness is falling, thanks to antiretroviral therapy and its lifesaving effects.
SubSaharan-Africa – The new HIV infection rate worldwide has either gone down or stabilized, the authors informed. Rates have fallen by 27% in sub-Saharan Africa since 1997, when the epidemic was at its peak. In South Africa there has been a 27% fall.