A new UNAIDS report charting progress toward the Millennium Development Goals finds that between 2001 and 2009, new HIV infections dropped by more than 25 percent in 22 of the sub-Saharan countries hit hardest by HIV/AIDS. A key MDG is halting and reversing the spread of HIV/AIDS by 2015.
Nigeria, South Africa, Zambia, and Zimbabwe -- among the African countries with the biggest epidemics -- are leading the decline, thanks to improved HIV prevention methods and AIDS treatment programs, UNAIDS said. "For the first time change is happening at the heart of the epidemic," said agency Executive Director Michel Sidibe.
However, the region remains the epicenter of the global pandemic. Sub-Saharan Africa is home to 67 percent of all people living with HIV/AIDS worldwide, 71 percent of AIDS-related deaths, and 91 percent of all new HIV infections among children.
And while the number of new HIV infections is steadily declining or stabilizing in most parts of the world, UNAIDS said hot spots remain. Eastern Europe and Central Asia have rapidly growing epidemics -- the region has a rate of 500 new HIV infections a day. Several high-income countries also have seen a resurgence of HIV among men who have sex with men.
UNAIDS recommends that national governments allocate between 0.5 percent and 3 percent of revenue to HIV/AIDS, depending on their prevalence rates. The report acknowledges that while such domestic expenditures have increased, spending has not kept pace with the disease in the nations hit hardest by AIDS.
World leaders are meeting in New York Sept. 20-22 to assess the MDGs, which were agreed to a decade ago.
Back to other news for September 2010
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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