The COVID-19 pandemic and other global health crises during the past two years have slowed down the fight against the HIV pandemic, according to new statistics from the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS on the global HIV response.
According to UNAIDS, despite advanced HIV therapy and resources to prevent, identify, and treat opportunistic infections, the AIDS epidemic claimed a life every minute on average in 2021, resulting in 650,000 AIDS deaths.
According to UNAIDS data, there are now fewer resources available globally to fight HIV/AIDS, endangering millions of lives.
In Danger, a new report is being released in advance of the Montreal, Canada-hosted International AIDS Conference.
According to UNAIDS, the annual fall in new HIV infections was the weakest since 2016 and was only 3.6% across the globe between 2020 and 2021.
“Over the past few years, annual HIV infections have increased throughout Latin America, the Middle East, and Central Asia, as well as Eastern Europe and Eastern Asia. According to UNAIDS data, where new HIV infections had been declining throughout Asia and the Pacific, the region with the largest population, they are now increasing. Alarmingly, infection rates are rising in these areas. “In 2021, the tremendous development from previous years considerably halted in eastern and southern Africa. The drop in new HIV infections in western and central Africa and the Caribbean is encouraging, but even in these areas, the HIV response is challenged by a deepening resource shortage, according to a UNAIDS press release issued on Wednesday.
These findings demonstrate the grave danger facing the worldwide AIDS response. Since the pandemic thrives in crises like COVID-19, mass migration, and other crises, if we are not making headway quickly, we will be losing momentum. Let’s not forget the millions of fatalities that may have been prevented, urged UNAIDS Executive Director Winnie Byanyima.
The UN organization said that due to lagging progress, nearly 1 million more new infections occurred in 2017 than the worldwide targets.
“Marked disparities within and between nations are impeding the HIV response, and HIV is extending those disparities even further.
“In 2021, a new infection occurred every two minutes in young women and adolescent girls, who were disproportionately affected by them. The gendered HIV impact took place amid key HIV treatment and prevention services being disrupted, millions of girls missing school due to pandemics, spikes in teenage pregnancies, and gender-based violence. This was especially true for young African women and girls.
Teenage girls and young women in sub-Saharan Africa are three times more likely to contract HIV than adolescent boys and young men.
Key groups have been disproportionately impacted by the disturbances during the past few years in many localities, with increased prevalence in many places. According to UNAIDS data, gay men and other men who have sex with men (MSM) suffer an increased risk of new infections globally.
According to data from UNAIDS’ key populations, as of 2021, MSM has a 28-fold higher risk of contracting HIV than people of the same age and gender identity, while injecting drug users have a 35-fold higher risk, sex workers have a 30-fold higher risk, and transgender women have a 14-fold higher risk.
“Racial disparities also increase the chance of contracting HIV. The number of new HIV diagnoses has decreased more among white populations in the United Kingdom and the United States than it has among black communities. Indigenous groups had greater rates of HIV acquisition than non-indigenous communities in nations like Australia, Canada, and the United States, according to the study.
The research also demonstrates the failure of efforts to guarantee that all HIV-positive individuals have access to life-saving antiretroviral therapy. More slowly than it had in more than a decade, the number of persons receiving HIV therapy increased in 2021. Furthermore, barely half (52%) of children living with HIV have access to life-saving medication, even though antiretroviral treatment is available to 75% of all persons living with HIV; the gap in HIV treatment coverage between children and adults is widening rather than closing.
“These statistics speak to political will. Do we value the safety and empowerment of our girls? Do we want to stop child AIDS deaths? Do we prioritize preserving life over criminalization? “, Ms. Byanyima enquired. “If we do, we need to restart the AIDS response.”
The Philippines, Madagascar, Congo, and South Sudan were among the nations with the largest increases in the number of new HIV infections during 2015, according to UNAIDS, which also noted that there were substantial regional variations.
However, despite COVID-19 and other crises, the number of HIV infections decreased significantly in South Africa, Nigeria, India, and the United Republic of Tanzania, it was said. UNAIDS observed that examples of development show what an effective pandemic response needs, with some of the strongest gains occurring in areas where community-led services, supportive legal and policy contexts, and equitable services are most obvious.
The research outlines the terrible repercussions that will occur if prompt action is not taken to address the injustices that are fueling the pandemic.