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An historic opportunity to end AIDS in Africa

A decade of progress has inspired the once unthinkable—that the AIDS epidemic can be ended as a public health threat. A decade of transformation has set the stage, and the global community is united behind the goal of ending AIDS by 2030.

Progress in eastern and southern Africa, the world’s most affected region, is driving global optimism. In the region, the number of people living with HIV on antiretroviral therapy has more than double since 2010, reaching almost 12.5 million people by June 2017.

New HIV infections in eastern and southern Africa have declined by a third in just six years, while AIDS-related deaths in the region plummeted by 42% over the same period.

A new report released by UNAIDS shows that ending the AIDS epidemic in Africa can be reached if investments are secured and plans are in place for long-term sustainability.

The report, Turning point for Africa: An historic opportunity to end AIDS as a public health threat by 2030 and launch a new era of sustainability recommends developing country-tailored sustainability plans to enable transition towards domestic ownership and financing at each country’s own pace.

It also highlights that sustainable progress will require changing policies, increasing human resources for health, increasing efficiencies and addressing systemic inequalities.

The report shows that by adopting UNAIDS Fast-Track Targets instead of continuing business as usual, more than 15 million new HIV infections can be averted and more than 5 million lives saved.

Moreover, it will avert US$ 4.7 billion of financial resources needed for treatment in sub-Saharan Africa 2017–2030, from which eastern and southern Africa accounts for US$ 1.7 billion and western and central Africa US$ 3 billion.

Tanzania’s HIV epidemic is generalised, with pockets of concentrated epidemics among key populations such as people who inject drugs, men who have sex with men, mobile populations and sex workers.

Heterosexual sex accounts for the vast majority (80%) of all HIV infections in Tanzania and women are particularly affected. The severity of the epidemic varies across the country.

Some regions report an HIV prevalence of around 1.5 per cent (Manyara) while other regions have prevalence as high as 14.8 per cent (Njombe).

Overall, the epidemic has remained steady because of ongoing new infections, population growth and increased access to treatment.

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Author: EDITOR

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