Liberia: Confronting HIV/Aids On Target

The United Nations Aids Agency has announced a great deal of progress in the struggle against HIV/AIDs,in that the goal of 15 million people on life-saving HIV treatment by 2015 has been met, nine months ahead of schedule. The world has exceeded the AIDS targets of Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 6 and is on track to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The AIDS targets of MDG 6- halting and reversing the spread of HIV-have been achieved and exceeded, according to a new report released on today, 14 July 14, 2015 by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS).

 According to the report, new HIV infections have fallen by 35% and AIDS-related deaths by 41%, noting “The global response to HIV has averted 30 million new HIV infections and nearly 8 million (7.8 million) AIDS-related deaths since 2000, when the MDGs were set.” “The world has delivered on halting and reversing the AIDS epidemic,” said Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations. “Now we must commit to ending the AIDS epidemic as part of the Sustainable Development Goals.”

Released in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on the sidelines of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development, the report demonstrates that the response to HIV has been one of the smartest investments in global health and development, generating measurable results for people and economies. It also shows that the world is on track to meet the investment target of US$ 22 billion for the AIDS response by 2015 and that concerted action over the next five years can end the AIDS epidemic by 2030.

“Fifteen years ago there was a conspiracy of silence. AIDS was a disease of the “others” and treatment was for the rich and not for the poor,” said Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS. “We proved them wrong, and today we have 15 million people on treatment-15 million success stories.” How AIDS changed everything-MDG 6: 15 years, 15 lesson of hope from the AIDS response celebrates the milestone achievement of 15 million people on antiretroviral treatment-an accomplishment deemed impossible when the MDGs were established 15 years ago.

It also looks at the incredible impact the AIDS response has had on people’s lives and livelihoods, on families, communities and economies, as well as the remarkable influence the AIDS response has had on many of the other MDGs. The report includes specific lessons to take forward into the SDGs, as well as the urgent need to front-load investments and streamline programmes for a five-year sprint to set the world on an irreversible path to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030.

Achieving MDG 6: halting and reversing the spread of HIV In 2000, the world was witnessing an extraordinary number of new HIV infections. Every day, 8500 people were becoming newly infected with the virus and 4300 people were dying of AIDS- 2 related illnesses. How AIDS changed everything describes how, against all odds, huge rises in new HIV infections and AIDS-related deaths were halted and reversed.

New HIV infections In 2000, AIDS began to be taken seriously. Far-sighted global leadership rallied, and the response that ensued made history. Between 2000 and 2014, new HIV infections dropped from 3.1 million to 2 million, a reduction of 35%. Had the world stood back to watch the epidemic unfold, the annual number of new HIV infections is likely to have risen to around 6 million by 2014.

In 2014, the report shows that 83 countries, which account for 83% of all people living with HIV, have halted or reversed their epidemics, including countries with major epidemics, such as India, Kenya, Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe. “As a mother living with HIV I did everything in my capacity to ensure my children were born HIV-free, said AbiyotGodana from the Ethiopian community of people living with HIV.

“My husband has grabbed my vision of ending AIDS and together we won’t let go of this hope. Our two children are a part of an AIDS-free generation and will continue our legacy.” Ethiopia has made significant progress in preventing new HIV infections among children. In 2000, around 36 000 children became infected with HIV. However, by 2014 that number had dropped by 87%, to 4800, as coverage of antiretroviral therapy to prevent new HIV infections among children increased to 73%.


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