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1.5 million new HIV infections

In 2021, 1.5 million new HIV infections were reported worldwide, one million more than the target of 500,000 by 2020, according to the UN Program on HIV-AIDS ( UNAIDS) dedicated to combating the disease.

UNAIDS: More than one and a half million new HIV infections

“Angels. I live with HIV and…”. Photograph belonging to the virtual exhibition Itinerantas 2022, a project organized by CESIDA and developed by Dr. Álvarez, with the collaboration of the NGO CALCSICOVA

According to UNAIDS, a total of 28 countries have the highest rates of new HIV infections, and they account for three quarters of all new HIV infections in the world

Although HIV/AIDS remains a global health problemand in some regions such as Asia and the Pacific and the Middle East and North Africa the number of new infections and/or deaths has increased in recent years, it is African countries that lead the list of infected, with Swaziland, Lesotho, Botswana and South Africa in the lead.

That’s how he collects it Statistics Research Department in a graph referring to 2020, and in which Zimbabwe, Namibia, Mozambique and Zambia also appear next, and in that order.

Faced with this reality, UNAIDS wants to define the needs of countries related to the implementation of the 2025 Prevention Roadmap and identify the strategic changes necessary to work as a coalition and strengthen collaboration between them.

UNAIDS: the most vulnerable groups

In addition and according to a recent UNAIDS report, every two minutes in 2021, a teenager or young woman (between 15 and 24 years old) became infected with HIV.

In this population group, 250,000 people were infected, more than 80% in sub-Saharan Africa.

A region, where the probability of contracting the disease is three times higher among adolescent girls and young women than among their male counterparts.

“The opportunity before us now is to scale up what works while turning our attention to the stubborn social and structural barriers that keep girls and key populations vulnerable to new HIV infections.”

UNAIDS Regional Director for Eastern and Southern Africa, Anne Githuku-Shongwe.

In addition, the UN Program estimated in 2021 that key population groups, such as gay men and other men who have sex with men, people who inject drugs, sex workers, transsexuals and people in prisons and other closed settings, as well as their sexual partners, accounted for 70% of new HIV infections worldwide.

This percentage demonstrates that HIV prevention efforts must focus on the marginalized and the most vulnerable.

UNAIDS infographic on the more than 20 million girls and women with HIV

Goal 2025: reduce new HIV infections to 370,000

For all this, for the UNAIDS Interim Deputy Executive Director of Programmes, Eamonn Murphy, the application of the Roadmap cannot be business as usual and “more political leadership, more investment and more commitment are needed to reach key populations to reduce new HIV infections”.

According to UNAIDS, when countries increase joint programs for the prevention of new HIV infections, significant successes can be achieved such as that of the Ivory Coast.

In this country, rapid scale-up of programs for key populations combined with increased treatment coverage contributed to a 72% reduction in new HIV infections between 2010 and 2020.

Similarly, several countries in other regions managed to dramatically reduce new HIV infections by focusing prevention programs on the needs of key populations.

A Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnamnew HIV infections were reduced by more than 60% between 2010 and 2020.

They were also roughly halved a El Salvador, the Republic of Moldova and Sri Lankawhich shows that progress is possible.

For UNAIDS, countries’ target is to reduce new HIV infections to 370,000 by 2025, a target that can be achieved, but only if efforts are intensified to reach the people who are being left behind.

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