We’re in for some good news pertaining to the rate of new human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infections across the world. UNAIDS released figures for the period from 2010 to 2019 and the most important finding from that study is the following – the number of new HIV infections worldwide has gone down 23 per cent over the period.
New Cases Down, More Men Than Women Living with HIV
UNAIDS epidemiological research suggests that 1.7 million people across the world contracted HIV in 2019.
While the rate of infection is going down, we’re still a long way from milestones that the world has set for 2020 and the years beyond. Due to significant improvements in preventative care like HIV PrEP and PEP, UNAIDS had set a milestone of 500,000 new infections for 2020. The numbers for 2019, however, suggest that we still have a long way to go until such a massive reduction occurs.
In 2019, 48 per cent of all new infections occurred among women and 52 per cent occurred among men. Globally, the rate of new infections has been going down faster among women (a reduction of 27 per cent since 2010) than among men (a reduction of 18 per cent since 2010).
What We Know about People Living with HIV and AIDS
Additional research carried out by UNAIDS provides some more information about the lives of people who are HIV-positive or who have developed acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).
In 2019, 38 million people across the world were living with HIV. Of these individuals, 25.4 million have access to antiretroviral therapy and 690,000 died because of AIDS or AIDS-related illnesses and complications.
Of all 38 million HIV-positive individuals, 36.2 million are adults and 1.8 million are children in the age range from zero to 14. What’s surprising is the fact that only 81 per cent of the individuals who are HIV-positive are aware of their status. This means approximately 1.7 million people do not know they are HIV-positive. These individuals are posing a danger to themselves and to others which could have been quickly overcome through a simple HIV test.
Since the starts of the HIV pandemic, 75.7 million people across the world have become infected and 32.7 million people have lost their lives.
A 2020 Slowdown: Why We’re Failing with HIV-Related Milestones
As already mentioned, the rate of new infections in 2019 is very far away from the milestone set for 2020. Developments over the course of the year could also set the world back from the goal of completely eliminating HIV by 2030.
While the rate of new infections is down, the number of new cases remains alarming. According to experts and the UNAIDS team, a number of factors has contributed to the world’s inability to promote a faster slowdown.
According to UNAIDS, the Covid-19 pandemic is one of the primary reasons why the 2020 milestones will not be met. Deeply unequal infection control success across various parts of the world has also contributed to unsatisfactory results.
This unequal success is especially prevalent when it comes to ensuring easy access to antiretroviral therapy.
Only 14 countries have achieved the 90-90-90 target set by UNAIDS. The target refers to 90 per cent of the people living with HIV knowing their status, 90 per cent of them being on antiretroviral therapy and 90 per cent being completely virally supressed.
The countries and regions that met the goal include Australia, Botswana, Cambodia, Eswatini, Ireland, Namibia, Holland, Spain, Rwanda, Switzerland, Thailand, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Uganda. Eswatini and Switzerland actually surpassed all other accomplishments by reaching 95-95-95 levels.
Unfortunately, geographic gaps remain a key factor standing in the way of more effective HIV prevention. Sub-Saharan African countries have seen a reduction in their HIV awareness and prevention budget, which will undoubtedly contribute to slower progress there.
The UNAIDS report also concludes that the Covid-19 pandemic is another major and unaccounted for setback.
According to UNAIDS, the coronavirus pandemic has already caused some prevention and treatment endeavours, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa. Projections suggest that such hindrances and disruptions over the course of six months could contribute to 500,000 additional HIV and AIDS-related deaths.
In Latin America, there’s been a significant shift of resources and medical personnel due to Covid-19. Such measures could undo the progress that the world has been working so hard towards.
Individual Responsibility Matters More Than Ever
As an individual with access to reliable Singapore sexual health services, you need to be taking responsibility for your sexual health.
HIV testing is readily available through facilities like Shim Clinic. If you are sexually active, getting tested at least once per year is the responsible thing to do. Those belonging to higher risk groups should get in the habit of more frequent screening. HIV PrEP and PEP are also available as preventative options.
If you want to know more about HIV prevention, prophylaxis and treatment in Singapore, contact Shim Clinic right now. You can also pay us a visit for an in-person, professional and 100 per cent confidential consultation every single day of the week.
- (n.d.). Global HIV & AIDS statistics — 2020 fact sheet. Retrieved October 14, 2020, from https://www.unaids.org/en/resources/fact-sheet
- (2020a, July 6). UNAIDS report on the global AIDS epidemic shows that 2020 targets will not be met because of deeply unequal success; COVID-19 risks blowing HIV progress way off course. https://www.unaids.org/en/resources/presscentre/pressreleaseandstatementarchive/2020/july/20200706_global-aids-report
- UNAIDS. (2020b, October 12). New HIV infections: men outnumber women. https://unaids.org/en/resources/presscentre/featurestories/2020/october/20201012_new-hiv-infections-men-outnumber-women