New York, 30 May 2006 – According to new data in the UNAIDS 2006 Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic the AIDS epidemic appears to be slowing down globally, but new infections are continuing to increase in certain regions and countries. The report also shows that important progress has been made in country AIDS responses, including increases in funding and access to treatment, and decreases in HIV prevalence among young people in some countries over the past five years.
However AIDS remains an exceptional threat. The response is diverse with some countries doing well on treatment but poorly on HIV prevention efforts and vice-versa. The report indicates that a number of significant challenges remain. Among these are the need for improved planning, sustained leadership and reliable long-term funding for the AIDS response.
- An estimated 38.6 million [33.4 million – 46.0 million] living with HIV worldwide
- 4.1 million [3.4 million – 6.2 million] newly infected in 2005
- 2.8 million [2.4 million to 3.3 million] died of AIDS in 2005
An estimated 38.6 million people are living with HIV worldwide. Approximately 4.1 million people became newly infected with HIV, while approximately 2.8 million people died of AIDS-related illnesses in 2005. While the epidemic’s toll remains massive, experts find reasons for optimism, as well as guidance for how to improve the AIDS response, in today’s report.
“Encouraging results in HIV prevention and treatment indicate a growing return on investments made in the AIDS response,” said UNAIDS Executive Director Dr. Peter Piot.
“We are reaching a critical mass in terms of improvements in funding, political leadership and results on the ground, from which global action against AIDS can and must be greatly accelerated. The actions we take from here are particularly important, as we know with increasing certainty where and how HIV is moving, as well as how to slow the epidemic and reduce its impact.”
The report cites significant improvements in several elements of the global AIDS response. In the key area of financial resources, the US $8.3 billion available for the AIDS response in 2005 is more than five times the funding available in 2001, and is well within the Declaration of Commitment target range. The report also cites significant increases in global political leadership, which is key to maintaining the AIDS response at the centre of national and international development planning.
Dr. Piot was joined at the report launch by UNICEF Executive Director Ann Veneman, by United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Executive Director Thoraya Obaid representing the ten cosponsoring agencies of UNAIDS.
The report shows that young people and children are increasingly affected by the epidemic, and efforts to protect these and other vulnerable groups are not keeping pace with the epidemic’s impact.
“For too long, children have often been the missing face of the AIDS pandemic,” said
UNICEF Executive Director Ann Veneman. “It is critical that the impact of HIV/AIDS on children be addressed through programs to prevent mother to child transmission and to treat cases of paediatric AIDS.”
On HIV prevention, the report documents behaviour changes including delays in first sexual experience, increasing use of condoms by young people, and resulting decreases in HIV prevalence in young people in some sub-Saharan countries.
"Prevention remains our first and most effective line of defence," noted UNFPA Executive Director, Thoraya Ahmed Obaid. "In countries where HIV prevalence is declining among young people, there is behaviour change and comprehensive condom programming. This is encouraging proof that prevention works and saves lives. But women still remain disproportionately vulnerable and greater efforts must be made to give them methods of prevention they can control."
The report also makes clear that on many issues and in most regions of the world greater action against the epidemic is required now, and will be required long into the future.
Today’s speakers emphasised that upcoming goals related to universal access to treatment and the 2010 UN goal of halting and beginning to reverse the epidemic will require much greater action moving forward.
Previous Publication (general) items
- 29/05/2006: Japan: National Youth Shadow Report on HIV/ AIDS
- 29/05/2006: India: National Youth Shadow Report on HIV/ AIDS
- 29/05/2006: Democratic Republic of Congo: National Youth Shadow Report on HIV/ AIDS
- 29/05/2006: Pakistan: National Youth Shadow Report on HIV/ AIDS
- 29/05/2006: Kenya: National Youth Shadow Report on HIV/ AIDS
Organisation Contact Details:
20 Avenue Appia
CH-1211 Geneva 27
Tel: 00 41 22 791 4461
Last updated 30/05/2006 11:41:43