Some 770,000 people worldwide have died of AIDS-related illnesses in 2018, down one-third since 2010, according to the UNAIDS annual report released on Tuesday. This figure is down compared to 2017 (800,000) and is much lower than the hecatomb recorded at the peak of the epidemic in 2004 (1.7 million), according to the UN agency dedicated to the fight against AIDS.
In addition, more than three in five HIV-positive people - 23.3 million out of 37.9 - are on antiretroviral therapy, which means they can no longer transmit the AIDS virus if they are taken correctly. This is the highest proportion ever achieved, and is about ten times higher than in the mid-2000s. The number of new infections is stable compared to previous years (1.7 million).
Some indicators are disturbing
These global figures conceal, however, strong regional disparities, UNAIDS says, according to which the fight against the disease is not progressing at a sufficient pace. Globally, the remarkable decline in the number of deaths and better access to treatment can be explained by the significant progress made in South and East Africa, the region historically most affected by AIDS. This is where more than half of the world's population affected by the virus lives.
But elsewhere in the world, some indicators are worrying. For example, in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, the number of new infections has risen by 29% since 2010. Similarly, the number of AIDS deaths has increased by 5% in these regions and 9% in the Middle East and North Africa in the last eight years.