Nigeria, S’Africa, Uganda account for 48% of new HIV infections

Nigeria is one of the 15 countries
accounting for over 75 per cent of the 2.1 million new Human Immuno-deficiency Virus (HIV) infections that occurred in 2013.

According to The Gap Report released yesterday by the Joint United Nations Programme on AIDS (UNAIDS), in every region of the world there are three or four countries that bear the burden of
the epidemic, and in sub-Saharan Africa, just three countries -Nigeria, South Africa and Uganda- account for 48 per cent of all new HIV infections.

The highest number of people living with HIV is in sub-Saharan Africa, with 24.7 million people.

The UNAIDS report also showed that Nigeria is one of the six countries with little progress in ending HIV transmission.

It listed the Central African Republic (CAR), Democratic Republic of the Congo, Indonesia, Nigeria, Russia and South Sudan as facing triple threat of high HIV burden, low treatment coverage and little or no decline in new HIV infections.

Unfortunately, the report showed that 19 million of the 35 million people living with HIV today do not know that they
have the virus, though in sub-Saharan Africa, nearly 90 percent of people who know their HIV-positive status are on
treatment. It projected that AIDS
epidemic could be ended by 2030 but would require smart scale-up to close the gap.

To end the epidemic by 2030,the world needs to avert 18million new HIV infections and 11.2 million AIDS-related deaths between 2013 and 2030, UNAIDS
Executive Director, Michel Sidibe,said.

“Whether you live or die should not depend on access to an HIV test,” Sidibe said. “Smarter scale-up is needed to close the gap between people who know
their HIV status and people who
don’t, people who can get services and people who can’t,and people who are protected and people who are punished.”

Meanwhile, in the first report of its kind, the UNAIDS Gap report emphasised the importance of location and population through a regional analysis of HIV
epidemics and analysis of 12 populations at higher risk of HIV.

It analysed the reasons for the widening gap between people gaining access to HIV prevention,treatment, care and support and people being left behind. It
showed how focusing on populations that are underserved and at higher risk of HIV would be key to ending the AIDS
epidemic.

HIV prevalence is estimated to be 28 times higher among people who inject drugs, 12 times higher among sex workers and up to 49 times higher among trans-gender women than
among the rest of the adult population.

In sub-Saharan Africa, adolescent girls and young women account for one in four new HIV infections. The report
looked at why certain populations are not accessing HIV services and outlines the urgent need to address their
specific needs.

“There will be no ending AIDS without putting people first,without ensuring that people living with and affected by the epidemic are part of a new
movement. Without a people-centred approach, we will not go far in the post-2015 era,” Sidibe said.

The report showed that it is both essential and possible to go deeper than a countrywide approach. And because countries and regions have multiple and
varying epidemics, the report outlined that having country targets and sound policies in place creates space to address complex micro-epidemics with
tailored, bite-sized solutions that
will help reach people faster with better HIV services.

However, the report also showed that a lack of data on people most affected by HIV,coupled with widespread stigma
and discrimination, punitive legal
environments, barriers to civil society engagement and lack of investment in tailored programmes are holding back
results.

AIDS reported the lowest levels of new HIV infections this century, at 2.1 million. In the last three years alone, new HIV infections have fallen by 13
percent. It was estimated that 35million people were living with HIV across the world at the end of 2013.

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