June 28, 2013
The number of HIV-infected Ghanaian children accessing HIV treatment doubled from 2009 to 2012, resulting in a 76-percent decline in HIV incidence among children since 2009. Ghana was one of 21 African countries targeted by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) "Global Plan towards elimination of new HIV infections among children by 2015 and keeping their mothers alive" (Global Plan). Other priority countries where HIV incidence declined more than 50 percent among children included Botswana, Ethiopia, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa, and Zambia. South Africa had 24,000 fewer new HIV infections among children in 2012 than in 2009 (a 63-percent decline). Overall, HIV infections among children in the 21 priority nations declined by 38 percent (130,000 fewer new infections) since 2009.
Michel Sidibé, UNAIDS executive director, reported progress had stalled in other African countries with high HIV incidence and that access to HIV treatment was "unacceptably low" in most of the Global Plan priority nations. HIV incidence increased in Angola, and the 2012 rate of incidence in Nigeria was "largely unchanged" from 2009. Of the 21 priority nations, Nigeria had the highest HIV incidence among children, with 60,000 new infections in 2012. Sidibé called for "urgent action" to reach the Global Plan's 2015 goals.
UNAIDS and the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief revealed the Global Plan during the 2011 UN General Assembly High Level Meeting on AIDS. The plan's 2015 target goals are to cut new infections among children by 90 percent and to reduce AIDS-related maternal deaths by 50 percent.