Despite the effectiveness of HIV treatments and tools to prevent, detect and treat opportunistic infections, the AIDS pandemic claimed an average of one life per minute with 650,000 deaths last year, a new report pointed out on Wednesday. . UNAIDS.
The study, which was presented on the eve of the International AIDS Conference to be held in the Canadian city of Montreal, reveals that the onset of COVID-19[feminine] and other global crises have weakened progress against HIV and reduced resources to fight the disease.
Although global figures seem to indicate a drop in the recording of new cases of the disease, the number of new infections worldwide has only decreased by 3.6% between 2020 and 2021, the smallest annual decline in new HIV infections since 2016.
Added to this balance sheet is another important fact: for several years, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, the Middle East and North Africa and Latin America have continued to experience annual growth in HIV infections.
In Asia and the Pacific, for example, new HIV infections are increasing where they used to decline, and in eastern and southern Africa the rapid progress of previous years has slowed considerably in 2021.
On the positive side, West and Central Africa and the Caribbean have seen notable declines in new HIV infections, but in these regions the response to the disease is threatened by the scarcity of resources.
“These data show that the global AIDS response is under serious threat. If we don’t act quickly, we will lose ground as the pandemic develops between COVID-19, mass displacement and other crises. Let us remember the millions of preventable deaths we are trying to stop. ‘Stop,’ UNAIDS Executive Director Winnie Byanyima said at the launch of the report.
The countries with the highest increase in new HIV infections since 2015 are the Philippines, Madagascar, Congo and South Sudan. In contrast, South Africa, Nigeria, India and the United Republic of Tanzania have recorded some of the largest reductions in the number of HIV infections.
The lack of progress led to nearly 1.5 million new infections being recorded last year, more than a million more than global disease control targets.
Stark inequalities within and between countries are hampering progress in the HIV response, and the virus itself is deepening these inequalities.
Women and girls lead in number of new infections
Women and adolescents were the population group most affected by new infections in 2021, with a new infection every two minutes.
The growth of HIV in terms of gender, particularly for young African women and girls, has coincided with the disruption of treatment and prevention services for the disease, with millions of girls out of school due to pandemics, and by the increase in teenage pregnancies. , as well as gender-based violence.