Concern over regions unable to meet global targets to cut new HIV/AIDS cases

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A sign reading “Know your HIV status”, promoting HIV testing in Livingstone, Zambia

New HIV infections are on the rise in Eastern Europe, Central Asia, the Middle East and North Africa, according to the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS).

The organization says the upward trend is mainly being fuelled by discrimination and inadequate access to essential HIV services amongst some of the high risk groups such as men who have sex with men and sex workers

In Eastern Europe and Central Asia, new HIV infections have risen by 13 per cent since 2006, while in the Middle East and North Africa new infections have more than doubled since 2001.

UNAIDS says although the number of children receiving antiretroviral therapy has increased by 14 per cent over the past year, children living with HIV continue to experience persistent treatment gaps.

There is also concern over the growing number of people aged 50 and older who are living with HIV and are unable to access treatment and other services.

Michel Sidibé is the Executive Director of UNAIDS.

"Every hour, 50 young women are newly infected with HIV. Every person counts. That is what we are trying to really push. If we are going to keep our pledge of leaving non one behind, we have to make sure HIV services reach everyone in need. More attention is needed for children and adults aged 50 and over. In priority countries, only three in 10 children receive HIV treatment. Children living with HIV continue to experience persistent treatment gaps. We have seen tremendous political commitment and results to reduce mother-to-child transmission of HIV—but we are failing the children who become infected. We urgently need better diagnostic tools and child-friendly medicines—irrespective of the market size."

UNAIDS estimates that there were 2.3 million new HIV infections among adults and children in 2012, a 33 per cent reduction since 2001.

New HIV infections among children have also dropped by more than a half in the last decade.

Patrick Maigua, United Nations Radio, Geneva.

Duration 2:25″

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