UNAIDS – A year in review

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UNAIDS – A year in review

23 December 2010

2010 has been a landmark year in the AIDS response. In November UNAIDS reported that the AIDS epidemic had been halted and that the world is beginning to reverse the spread of HIV. In its flagship report, the 2010 UNAIDS Report on the global AIDS epidemic, UNAIDS reported that the rate of new HIV infections had been reduced by nearly 20% in the past 10 years, that AIDS related deaths had been reduced by nearly 20% in the last five years and that the total number of people living with HIV had stabilised.

Investments made to date in the AIDS response were seen to be bearing fruit as the rate of new infections stabilised or decreased by more than 25% in at least 56 countries around the world, including 34 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, the area which continues to be most affected by the epidemic. In addition, more than 5 million people were estimated to be receiving antiretroviral treatment––a scale up of 30% in just one year. 

However, 2010 was also a year in which for the first time resources for the AIDS response did not increase, with donor disbursements lower in 2009 than in 2008. This disappointing news came at a time when demand is continuing to outstrip supply in the AIDS response. For every one person who starts antiretroviral treatment a further two become infected with the virus.

At the XVIII International AIDS Conference which took place in Vienna in June, the 20,000 participants from 193 countries rallied behind UNAIDS’ call for a Prevention revolution and the Treatment 2.0 initiative which will help to ensure a cohesive and resource-maximizing AIDS response.

World leaders gathered at the United Nations for the MDG Summit in September and called for a new model of partnership to strengthen the AIDS response and achieve broader health and development outcomes.

Major developments were brought to light in 2010 in the field of scientific research. These included the CAPRISA study which found a microbicide gel to be 39% effective in reducing a woman’s risk of becoming infected with HIV during sex and the IPREX study which found that a pill taken once daily reduces the risk of HIV infection by an average of 43.8% for HIV-negative men, and transgender women, who have sex with men.

In 2010, UNAIDS’ board endorsed a new vision of “Zero new infections. Zero discrimination. Zero AIDS-related deaths.” The board also adopted the UNAIDS strategy 2011–2015. The intent of the strategy is to revolutionize HIV prevention, catalyse the next phase of treatment, care and support, and advance human rights and gender equality.