Rate of HIV Infections, Deaths Depleting Across Africa

A UN report shows that the rate of infection is drastically dropping thanks to education and outreach.

BY Michelle Garcia

November 20 2012 3:50 PM ET

HIV infections are down 50% in 25 countries around the world, including many in sub-Saharan Africa, according to an annual report from UNAIDS.

A week before World AIDS Day, the report by the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS or UNAIDS, shows that the rates on infection have been cut by 73% in Malawi since 2001, 71% in Botswana, and 68% in Namibia. Additionally, AIDS-related deaths have reduced by a third in the region, while the number of people who have received antiretroviral treatment has increased by 59%.

"The pace of progress is quickening--what used to take a decade is now being achieved in 24 months," Michael Sidibé, executive director of UNAIDS, said in a statement Tuesday. “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.”

In just two years, South Africa has increased its rate of HIV treatment by 75%, ensuring treatment for 1.7 million people.

Half of the global reductions in new HIV infections since 2010 have been among newborn children.

“It is becoming evident that achieving zero new HIV infections in children is possible,” Sidibé said. “I am excited that far fewer babies are being born with HIV. We are moving from despair to hope.”

UNAIDS estimates that there are still 34 million people around the world living with HIV, and half of them do not know their status.

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