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UNAIDS Report Shows Progress Due To ‘Unprecedented Acceleration’ In Global AIDS Response

UNAIDS’ new World AIDS Day report: Results, released on Tuesday, “shows that unprecedented acceleration in the AIDS response is producing results for people,” according to a UNAIDS press release. Between 2001 and 2011, “a more than 50 percent reduction in the rate of new HIV infections has been achieved across 25 low- and middle-income countries — more than half in Africa, the region most affected by HIV,” the press release states, adding, “In addition to welcome results in HIV prevention, sub-Saharan Africa has reduced AIDS-related deaths by one third in the last six years and increased the number of people on antiretroviral treatment by 59 percent in the last two years alone.” According to the press release, “The area where perhaps most progress is being made is in reducing new HIV infections in children,” and the number of AIDS-related deaths has dropped because of increased access to antiretroviral treatment.

“The report also shows that countries are assuming shared responsibility by increasing domestic investments,” the press release continues, noting, “More than 81 countries increased domestic investments by 50 percent between 2001 and 2011.” According to the press release, UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibe said, “We are scaling up faster and smarter than ever before. It is the proof that with political will and follow through we can reach our shared goals by 2015.” However, “[d]espite the encouraging progress in stopping new HIV infections, the total number of new HIV infections remains high — 2.5 million in 2011,” the press release states. “The report outlines that to reduce new HIV infections globally combination HIV prevention services need to be brought to scale,” such as “scaling up voluntary medical male circumcision,” which “has the potential to prevent an estimated one in five new HIV infections in Eastern and Southern Africa by 2025,” according to the press release (11/20).

Coverage of this report is available from Agence France-Presse, BBC News, Bloomberg, the Guardian, and Reuters.