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New HIV infections steady at 2.5 million per year globally

Deaths from HIV/AIDS may have been steadily declining from a peak in 2005, but that doesn’t mean the disease rates are going down, says ANI. A major new analysis from the Global Burden of Disease 2015 (GBD 2015) study, 2.5 million people worldwide became newly infected with HIV in 2015, a number that hasn’t changed substantially in the past 10 years.

The new GBD estimates show a slow pace of decline in new HIV infections worldwide, with a drop of just 0.7 percent a year between 2005 and 2015 compared to the fall of 2.7 percent a year between 1997 and 2005.

Improvements and updates in GBD’s data sources and methodology indicate that the number of people living with HIV has been increasing steadily from 27.96 million in 2000 to 38.8 million in 2015. Annual deaths from HIV/AIDS have been declining at a steady pace from a peak of 1.8 million in 2005, to 1.2 million in 2015, partly due to the scale-up of antiretroviral therapy (ART).

Furthermore, the proportion of people living with HIV on ART increased rapidly between 2005 and 2015 from 6.4 percent to 38.6 percent for men and from 3.3 percent to 42.4 percent for women. Yet, most countries are still far from achieving the UNAIDS 90-90-90 target of 81 percent by 2020.

While the annual number of new infections has decreased since its peak at 3.3 million per year in 1997, it has stayed relatively constant at around an estimated 2.5 million a year worldwide for the past decade.

“Although scale-up of antiretroviral therapy and measures to prevent mother-to-child transmission have had a huge impact on saving lives, our new findings present a worrying picture of slow progress in reducing new HIV infections over the past 10 years”, said lead author Dr Haidong Wang from the University of Washington.

“Development assistance for HIV/AIDS is stagnating and health resources in many low-income countries are expected to plateau over the next 15 years. Therefore, a massive scale-up of efforts from governments and international agencies will be required to meet the estimated $36 billion needed every year to realise the goal of ending AIDS by 2030, along with better detection and treatment programmes and improving the affordability of antiretroviral drugs,” said Professor Christopher Murray.

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