HIV epidemic is growing in more than 50 countries

HIV epidemic is growing in more than 50 countries

HIV epidemic is growing in more than 50 countries
Increase in HIV in Russia, China and parts of the US

The HIV epidemic is not decreasing, but is growing again in more and more countries.  In the past year the number of new HIV infections increased in more than 50 countries.  Among them are the largest countries in the world: Russia and China, and also the southern states of the US. This is reported by Aidsfonds, just before World AIDS Day. According to Aidsfonds, the optimism of yesteryear that AIDS can be eradicated within a few years is disappearing. AIDS is far from over.

 

Risk-side wandering track

Mark Vermeulen, Director Aidsfonds: "While for a long time in the Netherlands HIV no longer has to be a death threat, almost 1 million people elsewhere in the world died of AIDS last year. Unnecessary, because we know exactly what to do and we have the means to stop AIDS. But the AIDS response is on a risky aberrant track. It is already clear that the internationally agreed goal of eliminating AIDS from the world by 2030 will be very difficult. Conservatism is on the increase all over the world and that touches the heart of the AIDS response.

Because the number of new HIV infections in the world is not dropping fast enough. Every minute, three people get infected with HIV. 15 million people worldwide living with HIV still do not have access to medication they are entitled to. Without treatment they pass on the virus and die. Last year, 1.8 million people were newly infected with HIV.

Conservatism

In the US, half of the Afro-American gay men will sooner or later get HIV. In Russia, 80 people die every day as a result of AIDS.  In China, HIV is increasing rapidly among young gay men.

Conservatism is gaining ground not only in these superpowers, but all over the world. Also in Brazil, Indonesia and in Eastern Europe, severe repressive action against gay men, transgenders, people who use drugs and sex workers is increasing. Discrimination excludes them from prevention measures and essential life-saving medication.

Failure to recognise the sexual rights of young people, in Africa for example, puts girls and young women at risk. Last year, almost 7,000 girls under 24 years of age were infected with HIV every week. AIDS is still the number one cause of death among young women up to 45 years of age. If these young women are not reached with medication, it means that more children will be born with HIV. Lack of respect for the rights of these people restrains achieving the end of AIDS.

Invest instead of pulling out

The end of AIDS was in sight for a while. But instead of making a final effort to reach the finish line, international investors and political leaders are now pulling out. 13 of the 16 Western donor countries have reduced their contribution by almost 20% in the past 3 years. The fire brigade leaves before the fire is extinguished. The successes in the AIDS response and the many efforts of the past thirty years are in danger of being lost.

Prevention, testing and treatment are necessary to stop the HIV epidemic. The Netherlands, in particular, always played a pioneering role in this, but leadership is needed permanently. It is a matter of funding and political will.

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