AIDS Epidemic May Be Subsiding: Report
Number of new infections, deaths declining, while more with HIV getting lifesaving medications
Also, a growing number of people with HIV are receiving lifesaving antiretroviral drugs. In 2013, 2.3 million more patients gained access to the medications, boosting the total number to nearly 13 million by the end of 2013. As of now, that number could be as high as nearly 14 million, according to UNAIDS.
In sub-Saharan Africa, nearly 90 percent of people who know they have HIV are receiving treatment, the findings showed.
Ending the HIV epidemic by 2030 would prevent 18 million new infections and 11.2 million AIDS-related deaths between 2013 and 2030, U.N. officials noted.
However, some experts questioned the wisdom of setting such a high goal.
"We've made progress, but the number of people getting infected is still extraordinarily high," Shabbar Jaffar, a professor of epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, told the Associated Press. Jaffar added that boosting efforts to fight the disease in Africa, where almost 70 percent of people with HIV live, would be hard because "they [health officials] are already working beyond capacity at the moment."
While there was good news in the report, it also noted that 19 million of the 35 million people worldwide who are infected with HIV do not know they have the virus.
"Whether you live or die should not depend on access to an HIV test," Sidibe said. "Smarter scale-up is needed to close the gap between people who know their HIV status and people who don't, people who can get services and people who can't, and people who are protected and people who are punished."