On World Aids Day, an end to the epidemic could finally be in sight

Bethan McKernan@mck_beth
Tuesday 01 December 2015 17:00
news

The first day of December is World Aids Day - and although the battle isn't over, campaigners are celebrating that for the first time, a tipping point in the worldwide fight against the epidemic is about to be reached.

Globally, Aids is still the leading cause of death for women of reproductive age: in South Africa, 800 girls aged between 15-19 are newly diagnosed with HIV every week.

Around 600 children a day are born with HIV, and a quarter of these babies are born in Nigeria alone.

While the gains are uneven, globally, we are edging towards a tipping point where the number of new infections is outpaced by the number of people receiving treatment:

Graphic: The One Campaign Data: UNAIDSGraphic: The One Campaign Data: UNAIDS

In 2000, just 700,000 people worldwide were on antiretroviral treatments - in 2015 that number stands at 15million. UNAIDS estimates that 8million related deaths have been averted in the last 15 years.

While this is good news, UNAIDS and The One Campaign have warned against complacency at this crucial stage in combating the infection.

More input is needed from the international community and in particular the private sector to make spending on HIV and Aids treatment more effective and allow the worst affected countries to take on more responsibility eradicating the infection through domestic resources management.

Graphic: The One Campaign

In a statement, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said:

World leaders have unanimously committed to ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals adopted in September. This commitment reflects the power of solidarity to forge, from a destructive disease, one of the most inclusive movements in modern history.

Ban has urged member states to step up their commitment to closing the remaining gap between the needs of people with HIV and services for good.

New fast-track targets to capitalise on recent gains in eradicating the infection completely by 2030 will be discussed by the UN next year.

Read the 2015 The One Campaign report in full here.

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