The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) is now warning that after a major reduction of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus/Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome worldwide (HIV/AIDS), the HIV infection in adults is on the rise.
According to a UNAIDS report, “after years of steady decline, the Caribbean saw a nine per cent rise in annual new HIV infections among adults between 2010 and 2015”.
This is as a result of the medical drug for the disease not working as effectively as in the past.
The report reveals that in some regions globally, the infection is currently on the rise.
According to the report, since its introduction in 1997, there was a significant reduction – 40 per cent, in the disease. Most recently, however, analysis from the UNAIDS shows that the HIV infection in adults remains stagnant, failing to decline for at least five years now.
The report says that HIV prevention urgently needs to be scaled up among the adult age group.
The prevention gap report outlines that an estimated 1.9 million adults have become infected with HIV every year for the past five years and new HIV infections among adults are increasing in some regions.
While the numbers of new HIV infections are rising, the report reveals that donor funding to fight the infection has declined to its lowest level since 2010.
According to the report, international donor contributions dropped from a peak of US$9.7 billion in 2013 to US$8.1 billion in 2015. “Low- and middle-income countries are stepping up to fill the gap, with domestic resources accounting for 57 per cent of the US$19.2 billion total funding in 2015.”
The Executive Director of UNAIDS, Michel Sidibe, said the organisation was consequently sounding the alarm. “The power of prevention is not being realised. If there is resurgence in new HIV infections now, the epidemic will become impossible to control. The world needs to take urgent and immediate action to close the prevention gap,” he noted.
The report also revealed what was needed to step up prevention efforts.
UNAIDS is urging countries to take a more comprehensive approach to battle the disease.
According to Sidibe, science, innovation and research have provided new and effective HIV prevention options. “Investing in innovation is the only way to secure the next big breakthrough – a cure or a vaccine.”
The report highlights that the major hopes for antiretroviral therapy to have an impact on preventing new HIV infections are starting to be realised, although the full benefits may not be seen for some years.
The data in the report, collected from more than 160 countries, illustrated that enormous gains can be achieved when concerted efforts are made. It outlines that by 2015 some 17 million people had access to antiretroviral therapy, double the number in 2010 and 22 times the number in 2000. UNAIDS will be calling on implementers, innovators, communities, scientists, donors and others at the 2016 International AIDS Conference, July 18-22, in Durban, South Africa, to close the prevention gap.