It is possible to end AIDS by 2030

It is possible to end AIDS by 2030

A new UNAIDS report assures that there is a clear path to ending AIDS and that path will also help humanity prepare for and respond to future pandemics and help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

The report, The Path that Ends AIDS, includes data and case studies that show that ending AIDS is a political and financial choice, and that countries and Leaders who are already following this path are seeing extraordinary results.

Botswana, Eswatini, Rwanda, Tanzania and Zimbabwe have already achieved the 95-95-95 targets. This means that 95% of people living with HIV know their HIV status, 95% of those people are on life-saving antiretroviral therapy, and 95% of people on treatment have an undetectable viral load. Sixteen other countries, including eight in sub-Saharan Africa, the region where 65% of HIV-positive people live, are also on track to achieve this goal.

Much needed political commitment

According to UNAIDS Executive Director Winnie Byanyima, “the end of AIDS is an opportunity for today’s leaders to leave an incredible mark in history”.

“Future generations may remember them as the people who ended the world’s deadliest pandemic. They could save millions of lives and protect everyone’s health. They could embody the potential of political voluntarism,” she adds.

The report emphasizes that effective responses to HIV are those rooted in strong political commitment. This means using data, science and evidence, tackling the inequalities that are holding back progress, supporting the critical role of communities and civil society organizations in the response, and ensuring a adequate and sustainable funding.

Financial investments

The countries and regions where financial investment is greatest are where the greatest progress is being made. In Eastern and Southern Africa, for example, new HIV infections have fallen by 57% since 2010.

Thanks to a focus on pediatric AIDS and investments to end it, 82% of women and breastfeeding women living with HIV globally had access to antiretroviral therapy in 2022, up from 46% in 2010. These efforts have resulted in a 58% drop in new HIV infections among children between 2010 and 2022, the lowest level since the 1980s.

Progress in the HIV response is strengthened when the legal and policy framework does not undermine human rights, but guarantees, enables and protects them. In 2022 and 2023, several countries removed harmful laws, including five (Antigua and Barbuda, Cook Islands, Barbados, Saint Kitts and Nevis, and Singapore) that decriminalized same-sex sexual relations .

The number of people on antiretroviral treatment has quadrupled, from 7.7 million in 2010 to 29.8 million in 2022.

However, the report also indicates that AIDS will not eradicate itself. In 2022, one person dies every minute from AIDS. Around 9.2 million people are still not on treatment, including 660,000 HIV-positive children.

Women and girls particularly affected

Women and girls are still disproportionately affected, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. In 2022, around the world, 4,000 young women and girls will contract HIV every week. Only 42% of districts with HIV incidence above 0.3% in sub-Saharan Africa currently benefit from dedicated HIV prevention programs for adolescent girls and young women.

Almost a quarter (23%) of new HIV infections occurred in Asia and the Pacific, where new infections are increasing alarmingly in some countries. New contaminations continue to increase sharply in Eastern Europe and Central Asia (+49% since 2010), as well as in the Middle East and North Africa (+61% since 2010). These changes are largely attributable to the lack of HIV prevention services for key and marginalized populations, as well as barriers created by punitive laws and social discrimination.

HIV funding also declined in 2022, from both domestic and international sources, falling to the same level as in 2013. Funding was $20.8 billion in 2022 , well below the $29.3 billion needed by 2025.

Ending AIDS is possible today by building political will, investing in a sustainable HIV response and funding what matters most: evidence-based HIV prevention and treatment, mainstreaming health systems, non-discriminatory laws, gender equality and the autonomy of community networks.

“We have hope, but we don’t have a flippant optimism that would set in because everything is going according to plan. Rather, it is about a hope that takes root in us at the sight of an opportunity for success, an opportunity correlated with actions,” stresses Byanyima, who notes that “The information and figures in this report do not show that we humanity are already on the right track, but they tell us that we can be. The way forward is clear.”

End discrimination

For his part, the head of human rights of the United Nations, Volker Türk, affirmed, on the occasion of the publication of this report, that to end HIV/AIDS, it was necessary to target discrimination and inequalities. .

So for Türk, “The HIV/AIDS and COVID-19 pandemics have clearly shown that discrimination and inequality harm public health. Any policy that discriminates, stigmatizes and criminalizes marginalized groups or people living with HIV makes their access to testing, treatment and prevention services less likely”.

“Every crackdown on civil society makes it less likely that people will get the support they need”he noted, recalling the existence of effective treatments and prevention strategies.

“Now we must ensure that everyone can access it without fear (…) For our responses to HIV/AIDS to be effective, they must be fully based on human rights. The rights of women and girls. The rights of LGBTIQ+ people. The rights of people living with HIV/AIDS, he argues.

AIDS in numbers

In 2022, it was estimated that:

– 39 million people were living with HIV worldwide
– 29.8 million people had access to antiretroviral therapy
– 1.3 million people have been infected with HIV
– 630,000 people died of opportunistic diseases


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