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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update
AFRICA: Sub-Sahara Africa Records Decline in HIV Infections, AIDS-Related Deaths in 2012
Wole Oyebade
January 3, 2013
Guardian-Nigeria (01.03.13)

The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) reported a sharp decrease in the number of new HIV infections and deaths from AIDS in sub-Saharan countries from 2004 to 2011. HIV incidence declined by 25 percent, and deaths from AIDS went down by 32 percent, according to the UNAIDS Regional Fact Sheet 2012. Deaths from TB among HIV-infected people also dropped by 28 percent from 2004 to 2011. UNAIDS attributed the decline in incidence and mortality from HIV/AIDS to increased availability of HIV screening and the growth of antiretroviral therapy programs. Testing campaigns focused on screening by health care providers, rapid tests, and home-based testing. The report estimated that 56 percent of HIV-infected people in sub-Saharan Africa receive HIV treatment—two percent better than the global average. More than half of funding for HIV efforts in sub-Saharan Africa comes from countries outside the region, but some countries have invested more funding in HIV efforts. For example, Botswana, Namibia, Rwanda, Swaziland, and Zambia cover 80 percent of the cost of HIV treatment. South Africa and Botswana provide public funding for more than 75 percent of their overall HIV effort. “Stigma and discrimination” are still barriers to effective HIV/AIDS initiatives in sub-Saharan countries. Women accounted for 58 percent of all HIV infections in the region in 2011. HIV-infected people in sub-Saharan countries report receiving verbal abuse and say they are denied access to dental and health care because of their status. Although the Prevention of Mother-To-Child-Transmission program was successful in cutting new cases among infants by 24 percent, more than 90 percent of all HIV-infected pregnant women and children with new HIV infections lived in sub-Saharan Africa in 2011. Almost 70 percent of HIV-infected people in the world live in the sub-Saharan region.