AIDS Epidemic May Be Subsiding, Says U.N.
(HealthDay News) — At the end of 2013, an estimated 35 million people worldwide were living with HIV, according to a new United Nations report. However, the report notes that the trend in recent years is promising.
According to the UNAIDS report, new HIV infections among children fell by 58% since 2001, and are below 200,000 for the first time in the 21 most affected countries in Africa. The largest decline in new infections was in the Caribbean – 40% since 2005. New infections did increase 8% in western Europe and North America, 7% in the Middle East and North Africa, and 5% in eastern Europe and central Asia since 2005. For AIDS-related deaths, statistics revealed a 35% decline after the number of deaths peaked in 2005. AIDS-related deaths did increase by 66% in the Middle East and North Africa, and in eastern Europe and central Asia, where the death toll increased 5% between 2005–2013.
A growing number of people with HIV are receiving antiretroviral drugs. In 2013, 2.3 million more patients gained access to the medications, boosting the total number to nearly 13 million by the end of 2013. As of now, that number could be as high as nearly 14 million, according to UNAIDS. In sub-Saharan Africa, nearly 90% of people who know they have HIV are receiving treatment, the findings showed.
Ending the HIV epidemic by 2030 would prevent 18 million new infections and 11.2 million AIDS-related deaths between 2013–2030, UN officials noted. "If we accelerate all HIV scale-up [increased efforts to fight the virus] by 2020, we will be on track to end the epidemic by 2030," Michel Sidibé, executive director of UNAIDS, said in an agency news release. "If not, we risk significantly increasing the time it would take – adding a decade, if not more."