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Turning The Tide In The Fight Against HIV/AIDS

Dec 13, 2017

Approximately 36.7 million people worldwide are living with HIV/AIDS, according to the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS, 2016).Of these,2.1 million are children. In 2016, an estimated 1.8 million individuals became newly infected with HIV, which equates to 5,000 new infections per day.

Although there was a decline in the HIV death rate between 2000 and 2015, African regions still account for almost two-thirds of the global total of new HIV infections. Africa is home to 25.6 million people with HIV.

Zimbabwe is one of the African countries that continues to have a large amount of its population living with HIV, an estimated 13 million people. Due to access to antiretroviral treatment, the life expectancy in Zimbabwe has reached 61 years in 2015 compared to 41 years in 2003. In 2016, more than 49,000 deaths were averted comprising 393,000 prevented deaths since 2006.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) played a vital role in supporting countries most affected by the HIV epidemic by providing access to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS,Tuberculosis and Malaria resources. Most recently US $502 million have been approved to support HIV, tuberculosis and malaria programmes in Zimbabwe during the next three years.

In Kenya, there are around 1.5 million people living with HIV, 400 000 of whom are unaware that they have the virus.In May 2017, the Government of Kenya has launched two innovative technologies to address low testing rates, especially among men, and bring ending the AIDS epidemic: self-testing for HIV and pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP),an antiretroviral medicine,to prevent HIV infection.