UNAIDS says that international efforts are on target to
deliver antiretroviral treatment to 15 million people by 2015, but people
eligible for treatment are much more likely to be getting antiretroviral drugs
in sub-Saharan Africa compared to Eastern Europe or Central Asia.
UNAIDS released its annual report on global progress towards
universal HIV prevention, treatment and care, Together
We Will End AIDS, ahead of the Nineteenth International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2012) in
Washington DC, which begins on Sunday July 22nd.
Globally, the number of people receiving antiretroviral
treatment rose by 20% in 2011. In sub-Saharan Africa, UNAIDS reports that
900,000 people started treatment in 2011, a 19% increase in coverage. Fifty-six
per cent of people eligible for treatment in sub-Saharan Africa are now
receiving it, compared to 23% in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, and 40% in Asia. The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that international donors such as the
Global Fund and the US
government support around 84% of treatment costs in low-income countries.
Nevertheless, funding for HIV treatment and prevention is increasingly
coming from the domestic budgets of low- and middle-income countries. More than
80 countries increased their domestic investments in HIV prevention and
treatment by more than 50% between 2006 and 2011, UNAIDS reports, while funding
from donors has remained largely unaltered since 2008.
If further increases in donor and domestic funding cannot be
secured, UNAIDS projects a funding gap of $7 billion by 2015. “Countries most
affected by the epidemic are taking ownership and demonstrating leadership in
responding to HIV,” said Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS. “However,
it is not enough for international assistance to remain stable
– it has to
increase if we are to meet the 2015 goals.”
There has also been substantial progress in providing
antiretroviral options for prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission.
Fifty-seven per cent of pregnant women estimated to be living with HIV in low-
and middle-income countries received an effective regimen in 2011, an increase
of nearly 10% in one year. Alongside this improvement in access to drugs, UNAIDS
estimates that the number of children newly infected with HIV has declined by
24% since 2009, when WHO recommended a substantial expansion of the use of
antiretroviral drugs during pregnancy and breastfeeding in order to reduce new
The reduction in new infections among children has been most
pronounced in some of the countries with the highest burden of HIV infection,
such as South Africa (-49%),
Zambia (-55%) and Zimbabwe
(-49%), but other countries in the region have done less well. New infections
in children have fallen by only 5% in Mozambique,
and by 2% in Nigeria,
countries that continue to report high levels of HIV infection in pregnant
UNAIDS notes that to achieve the target of zero new
infections among children, treatment must reach all the estimated 620,000 women
living with HIV who become pregnant each year.
Although the number of new infections among adults and
adolescents has declined by 500,000 per year compared to 2001, 2.2
million people became infected with HIV in 2011. New infections have declined
by 35% from the peak of the epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa, but UNAIDS reports
no change in the rate of infection among key populations such as people who
inject drugs and men who have sex with men in Eastern Europe, Central Asia, the
Middle East and Asia. Nevertheless, the
majority of new infections which occurred in 2011 occurred in sub-Saharan Africa: 1.5 million people acquired HIV.