New HIV infections in the Caribbean down more than 30% since 2001

Michel Sidibé

A new report by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), released this week shows that 2011 was a game changing year for the AIDS response with unprecedented progress in science, political leadership and results.

The report also shows that new HIV infections and AIDS-related deaths have fallen to the lowest levels since the peak of the epidemic. New HIV infections were reduced by 21% since 1997, and deaths from AIDS-related illnesses decreased by 21% since 2005.

Executive Director of UNAIDS Michel Sidibé said "Even in a very difficult financial crisis, countries are delivering results in the AIDS response." He said "We have seen a massive scale up in access to HIV treatment which has had a dramatic effect on the lives of people everywhere."

In the Caribbean, new HIV infections were reduced by a third from 2001 levels—and by more than 25% in Dominican Republic and Jamaica. Similarly the number of new HIV infections in South and South-East Asia dropped by more than 40% between 2006 and 2010. In India new HIV infections fell by 56%.

Declines in new HIV infections are also being spurred by changes in sexual behaviour, particularly in young people, as people reduce their numbers of sexual partners, increase condom use and are waiting longer before becoming sexually active. HIV prevalence declined among young people in at least 21 of 24 countries with national HIV prevalence of 1% or higher.

However, the number of new HIV infections continues to rise in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Oceania and Middle-East and North Africa, while it has remained stable in other regions of the world.

UNAIDS has mapped a new framework for AIDS investments which are focused on high-impact, evidence-based, high-value strategies.

UNAIDS chief Michel Sidibé said "the investment framework is community driven not commodity driven. It puts people at the centre of the approach, not the virus,"

This new strategic approach to investments would achieve extraordinary results; at least 12.2 million new HIV infections would be averted, including 1.9 million among children between 2011 and 2020; and 7.4 million AIDS-related deaths would be averted between 2011 and 2020.

This is Donn Bobb reporting.

Duration: 2’11″

Filed under Caribbean News.
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