Seven hundred and seventy thousand people died of HIV in the world in 2018, according to the latest report released on Tuesday (July 16th) from UNAIDS, the UN agency dedicated to the fight against the disease. And more than 1.5 million people were infected with the virus last year. Dizzying figures, but masking some progress, especially on the African continent, and large regional disparities.
HIV-related mortality has fallen by a third since 2010. And compared to the peak of the 2004 epidemic, and the 1.7 million deaths caused by HIV AIDS that year, the mortality has halved. A decline due to better access to treatments. By 2018, three out of five HIV-positive people were taking antiretroviral drugs, the highest proportion ever, even if we are far from it.
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In Eastern Europe and Central Asia, the number of new infections jumped by 30% compared to 2010, and only half of people knowing that they were infected had access to treatment in 2018.
Another reason for concern is the still inadequate funding for the fight against the pandemic in low- and middle-income countries. In 2018, they even declined. A "collective failure", according to UNAIDS. For the year 2020, $ 7 billion is missing to reach the $ 26 billion needed.
Improvement of prevention in Africa
The figures of the annual report of UNAIDS are comforting for the African continent. They are partly due to improved control in Southern Africa and East Africa, areas historically most affected by HIV AIDS. It is also here, it is recalled, that lives more than half of the infected world population.
In this progression, South Africa is a good student. In the last 9 years, the country has reduced the number of new infections by more than 40%.
However, be careful not to rejoice too quickly. In the Middle East and North Africa, the number of deaths related to the virus has increased by 9% since 2010. There is still a long way to go before ending the epidemic.
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The question of political priorities will play. That is, when countries in West and Central Africa consider their priorities, HIV does not come first, as it comes first in southern African countries.
Peter Ghys, Director, UNAIDS Strategic Information and Evaluation Department 16/07/2019 - by Valérie Cohen