The AIDS epidemic can be ended in every region, every country, in every location, in every population and every community. There are multiple reasons why there is hope and conviction about this goal.
New HIV infections are declining
The number of people who are newly infected with HIV is continuing to decline in most parts of the world. There were 2.1 million [1.9 million–2.4 million] new HIV infections in 2013—a decline of 38% from 2001, when there were 3.4 million [3.3 million–3.6 million] new infections. In the past three years alone, new HIV infections fell by 13%. Among the 82 countries for which the data for determining trends are of sufficient quality, new HIV infections have declined by more than 75% in 10 countries and by more than 50% in 27 countries.
One step closer to eliminating new HIV infections among children
Progress in stopping new HIV infections among children has been dramatic. In 2013, 240 000 [210 000–280 000] children were newly infected with HIV. This is 58% lower than in 2002, the year with the highest number, when 580 000 [540 000–640 000] children became newly infected with HIV. Providing access to antiretroviral medicines for pregnant women living with HIV has averted more than 900 000 new HIV infections among children since 2009.
Getting one step closer towards eliminating new HIV infections among children, for the first time the total number of children newly infected with HIV dropped below 200 000 in the 21 priority countries under the Global Plan towards the elimination of new HIV infections among children and keeping their mothers alive (1).Malawi has had the largest decline in the rate of children acquiring HIV infection—by 67%. New HIV infections among children declined by 50% or more in eight other countries: Botswana, Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe.
More people living with HIV know their status and are receiving HIV treatment
Almost half of all people living with HIV (48%) now know their status. In countries with the highest burden of HIV infection, knowledge of HIV status among people living with HIV is higher than before. Some 86% of people living with HIV who know their status in sub-Saharan Africa are receiving antiretroviral therapy, and nearly 76% of them have achieved viral suppression.
AIDS-related deaths are declining
Fewer people are dying of AIDS-related illnesses. In 2013 there were 1.5 million [1.4 million–1.7 million] AIDS-related deaths. AIDS-related deaths have fallen by 35% since 2005, when the highest number of deaths was recorded. In the past three years alone, AIDS-related deaths have fallen by 19%, which represents the largest decline in the past 10 years.
In sub-Saharan Africa, the number of AIDS-related deaths fell by 39% between 2005 and 2013. The region still accounted for 74% of all the people dying from AIDS-related causes in 2013. In the Caribbean, it declined by 54% and in Latin America by 31%. More modest declines of 27% occurred during the same period in Asia and the Pacific. In Oceania, AIDS-related deaths declined by 19% and in Western and Central Europe and North America, where mortality was already very low, by a further 2%. In contrast, the Middle East and North Africa experienced a significant increase in mortality from AIDS (66%), and Eastern Europe and Central Asia a more moderate increase of 5%.
The number of AIDS-related deaths decreased significantly between 2009 and 2013 in several countries, including South Africa (51%), Dominican Republic (37%), Ukraine (32%), Kenya (32%), Ethiopia (37%) and Cambodia (45%).
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