Ending HIV/AIDS epidemic within manageable reach

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Billboards on AIDS prevention were produced by a local NGO called Positive Action based in Maseru, Lesotho. UN Photo/G Pirozzi

The spread of the HIV AIDS could be brought under control by 2030, but will require a significant scale up of prevention and treatment measures, according to the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS.

UNAIDS says new HIV infections have declined by 13 per cent in the last three years, while AIDS related deaths have declined by 35 per cent and are at their lowest level since 2005.

The agency estimates that 35 million people are living with HIV globally, but less than half  know they have the virus.

Six countries including the Central African Republic, DR Congo, Indonesia, Nigeria, the Russian Federation and South Sudan are facing the triple threat if high HIV burden, low treatment coverage and no or little decline in new infections.

UNAIDS executive Director Michelle Sidibe says countries that continue to perpetuate discrimination and condone inequalities are stalling progress.

"People must have the freedom of access. There is no space in the world for discrimination and unfair criminalization. Everyone deserves equal access to quality HIV services. We have a fragile 5 year window of opportunity because what we do over the next 5 years, will determine the next 15. The world has to commit to new targets to reducing new HIV infections by 90 per cent, to reducing discrimination by 90 per cent and to reducing Aids related deaths by 90 per cent."

Sub-Saharan Africa still has the largest number of people living with HIV at 24.7 million, followed by the Asia Pacific region with 4.8 million.

The number of people with access to anti-retroviral therapy increased to 13 million by the end of 2013.

Patrick Maigua, United Nations, Geneva.

Duration 2.05″

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