Contrary to the rest of the world, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, and the Middle East and North Africa have seen an 11% increase of the number of AIDS related deaths since 2010. The annual number of new infections has also doubled in less than 20 years. 95% of new infections affect key populations and their sexual partners. The lack of targeted treatment and prevention, related with the continued stigma and discrimination of men who have sex with men, sex workers and drug users, explains the downward trend.
Adolescents affected disproportionally
While the global number of new infections has dropped slightly, from 1.9 to an estimated 1.8 million, the progress in terms of HIV prevention has been too slow to reach the target of fewer than 500,000 new infections by 2020. In 2017, there were 5,000 new infections a day, 66% of which in sub-Saharan Africa. Adolescent girls and young women in this region still continue to face a disproportionately high risk of HIV infection. Three out of four newly infected persons are girls aged 15-19. Young women aged 15-24 are twice as likely to live with HIV than men of the same age.
Funding the shortfall
According to UNAIDS, the overall resources for AIDS, including domestic funding, increased in 2017, but there is still a 20% shortfall between what is needed and what is available. Cuts cannot be afforded, as a 20% cut in international funding would be catastrophic for the 44 countries that rely on international assistance for at least 75% of their national AIDS responses. It is therefore quintessential to fully fund the AIDS response.
Read the UNAIDS Data 2018 report
Watch Sensoa’s policy advisor Sandra Van den Eynde comment on the global HIV figures