Globally, new infections fell by just 3.6% between 2020 and 2021, the lowest annual decline in new HIV infections since 2016, the report said. UNAIDS.
The agency warned that progress in prevention and treatment worldwide has slowed, putting millions of lives at risk.
“In 2021 There were 1.5 million new HIV infections and 650,000 AIDS-related deaths. This equates to 4,000 new HIV infections every day.”, said Mary Mayi, acting. UNAIDS Director of Data for Impact.
“That’s 4,000 people who will need to get tested, start treatment, avoid infecting their partners, and continue treatment for the rest of their lives. It also translates as 1800 deaths every day due to AIDSor one death every minute.”
The title of the latest report of the Joint United Nations Program on HIV and AIDS, “At Risk”, coincides with the start of the International AIDS Conference starting this Wednesday in Montreal.
It shows how new HIV infection is now on the rise where it has been falling, in places like Asia and the Pacific., the most populous region in the world. In Eastern and Southern Africa, rapid progress slowed significantly in 2021 compared to previous years.
Despite effective HIV treatment and tools to prevent and detect infection, the pandemic flourished during COVID-19in the face of mass displacement and other global crises that have led to resource constraints and reversal of development finance decisions at the expense of HIV programs.
“If current trends continue, we expect that in 2025 we will have 1.2 million new HIV infections this year.. Again, this is three times more than the 2025 target of 370,000,” Ms Mahi said.
Virus Avoidance Tip
Voluntary male circumcision, which can reduce the risk of male infection by 60 percent, has declined over the past two years, according to a UNAIDS report.
The UN agency also noticed a slowdown in treatment rollout over the same period. One of the most promising preventive interventions is pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP).) as this eliminates the risk of contracting the virus after contact.
According to the report, the number of people accessing PrEP doubled between 2020 and 2021, from about 820,000 to 1.6 million, mostly in South Africa. But it’s still far from the UNAIDS target of 10 million people receiving PrEP by 2025 as the cost will put it out of reach for many around the world.
© UNICEF/Karine Schermbrueck
Marked inequalities within and between countries have also stalled progress in the fight against HIV, and the disease itself has further increased vulnerability.
With a new infection occurring every two minutes in 2021 among young women and adolescent girls, this demographic remains particularly vulnerable.
The gendered impact of HIV, especially in Africa, has become more evident than ever during COVID, with millions of girls out of school, spikes in teen pregnancy and gender-based violence, and disruptions to essential HIV treatment and prevention services.
In sub-Saharan Africa, adolescent girls and young women are three times more likely to become infected with HIV than boys and young men.
Elementary school for defeating HIV
Research shows that when girls go to school and graduate, their risk of contracting HIV is greatly reduced. “Millions of girls have been deprived of school due to the COVID crisis, millions of them may never return, and this is having devastating consequences, just like the economic crisis caused by the pandemic,” Ben explained. Philips, Director of Communications, UNAIDS.
Racial diagnostic differences also exacerbate the risk of HIV infection. The decline in new HIV diagnoses has been greater among whites than among blacks and indigenous people in countries such as the UK, US, Canada and Australia.
“Just the same in 2021. Key populations such as sex workers and their clients, gay men, injecting drug users and transgender people account for 70 percent of new HIV infections.Miss Mayi said.
© UNICEF/Giacomo Pirozzi
Legal reforms are slow
UN agency recognizes six countries that have repealed laws criminalizing same-sex relationships.
At least nine have introduced legal options to change gender markers and names without the need for gender reassignment surgery.
However, progress in repealing punitive laws that increase the risk of HIV infection and death among marginalized still not enoughincluding LGBTI people, people who inject drugs and sex workers.
“We have seen countries change their laws to allow harsher sentences for HIV cases,” said Liana Moro, UNAIDS Monitoring and Reporting Program Technical Officer.
the $8 billion question
Overseas HIV development assistance from donor countries other than the United States, fell 57% in the last decade according to the report, while those governments’ contributions for all other sectors increased by 28 percent over the same period.
Ms Moreau said UNAIDS needed $29.3 billion by 2025. “In 2021, $21.4 billion was available for HIV programs in low- and middle-income countries. We are $8 billion short of our 2025 target.”
“Leaders can still take back the response to end AIDS by 2030,” UNAIDS Executive Director Winnie Byanyima said in a statement. “Ending AIDS will cost far less money than not ending AIDS. Importantly, the actions required to end AIDS will also better prepare the world to defend against the threats of future pandemics.”
UNAIDS estimates that 38.4 million people were living with HIV in 2021. Of these, 70 percent received treatment, and 68 percent successfully contained the spread of the virus..
UNAIDS brings together 11 UN organizations –UNHCR, UNICEF, WFP, UNDP, UNFPA, UNODC, UN Women, ILO, UNESCO, WHO and the World Bank — and is working closely with global and national partners to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030 through Sustainable Development Goals.
The AIDS pandemic claimed lives every minute in 2021…
- 650,000 people died, making it the leading cause of death in many countries;
- over 1.5 million new infections in 2021, the lowest annual decline in new HIV infections since 2016;
- In 2021, women and girls were newly infected every two minutes;
- In sub-Saharan Africa, girls and young women are three times more likely to acquire HIV as adolescent boys and young men;
- Development assistance for HIV treatment from bilateral donors other than the United States has declined by 57 percent over the past decade;
- Debt repayments for the world’s poorest countries reached 171 percent of all spending on health, education and social protection combined in 2021, stifling countries’ ability to respond to AIDS.