HIV-AIDS continues to kill. 650,000 people died in 2021 in connection with the disease. It is certainly less than in 2020, but still far too high in relation to the objectives. This is what we learn in the annual report of UNAIDS, published on Wednesday 27 July. A very pessimistic report on the future of the fight against the disease.
“In danger”. The title of the UNAIDS report sets the tone. It is the progress made after decades of fighting the HIV-AIDS epidemic that is now under threat. Admittedly, the number of new pollution continued to decrease in 2021, which was 1.5 million, but this improvement is less and less pronounced. And it is far from the goals.
It also hides different dynamics in the world. If the epidemic continues to decline in sub-Saharan Africa, it will advance elsewhere. Eastern Europe, Central Asia, the Middle East, the Maghreb, Latin America are concerned. And according to the latest data from UNAIDS, this is also now the case in the most populous region in the world, the Asia-Pacific.
Africa remains the epicenter of the pandemic
Of the nearly 40 million people living with HIV in 2021, more than half are in Africa. The continent, especially in the south and east, remains the epicenter of the pandemic: just under 900,000 new infections were recorded there last year. It is definitely a downward trend, but much less marked than in the past.
However, these figures hide large regional differences. Southern and Eastern Africa confirm this slowdown in dynamics, but at the same time, West and Central Africa are experiencing remarkable progress, although with the exception of Congo, which has recorded one of the largest increases in the number of new infections since. 2015.
As every year, the UN agency draws a portrait of an increasingly discriminatory epidemic, which primarily affects women and young girls. One of them is polluted every two minutes in the world. In sub-Saharan Africa, two-thirds of the pollution last year involved women or young girls. A young woman is twice as likely to be living with HIV as a man of the same age.
Access to screening and treatment is still not at the expected level. In short, the picture is dark. The reason is known: the chronic lack of funding. UNAIDS repeats it year after year, and today $8 billion is missing to fight HIV effectively. A situation that is all the more frustrating as we now have all the tools that would make it possible to overcome the epidemic.
One of the most important stages of success is political commitment at the highest level, lasting, constant, prioritizing the efforts against HIV on the country’s health policy agenda.
Fodé Simaga, Director of Science, Systems and Services for all departments at UNAIDS
The global HIV response is at risk.
Progress in prevention has lagged, global shocks have exacerbated future risks, and resources for HIV are under threat.
The new Global AIDS Update 2022 highlights the urgent actions needed to get back on track.
— UNAIDS (@UNAIDS) July 27, 2022