Today is World AIDS Day. From the CDC, today is an opportunity for people to work actively and collaboratively with partners around the world to raise awareness about HIV and help us move closer to the goal of an AIDS-free generation. This year’s theme, “The Time to Act Is Now,” calls us to act with urgency to implement the latest high-impact, evidence-based HIV prevention strategies. While a lot of progress has been made to understand HIV and AIDS (several previous posts), there’s still work to be done.
An estimated 36.9 million people are living with HIV/AIDS worldwide. As a science-based public health and disease prevention agency, CDC provides support that helps more than 60 countries strengthen their national HIV/AIDS programs and build sustainable public health systems. CDC conducts these activities through the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) , the largest commitment by any nation to combat a single disease.
Recent scientific breakthroughs now point the way to achieving an AIDS-free generation, a goal championed by President Obama in his 2013 State of the Union address. CDC, through PEPFAR, is working to achieve that inspiring goal through proven science, smart investments, and shared responsibility with partner countries.
Global efforts have resulted in approximately 13.5 million persons in low-income and middle-income countries receiving antiretroviral therapy (ART) for HIV infection in 2014, an increase from 2013. Globally, more than 15 million people are on ART.
New HIV infections have fallen 35 percent since 2000, with 66 percent of the 2 million new HIV infections occurring in sub-Saharan African countries, where women account for more than half the total number of those living with HIV.
New pediatric HIV infections have dropped by 58 percent worldwide since 2000.
CDC’s global HIV/AIDS activities are grounded in science and are critical to saving lives and preventing new infections. Core activities focus on:
- Providing proven combination prevention interventions, including prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission, antiretroviral treatment, and voluntary medical male circumcision.
- Reaching orphans and vulnerable children, as well as other neglected and hard-to-reach populations.
- Building and enhancing health systems, including sustainable human resources for health (e.g., health care workers) and accurate, reliable laboratory systems.
CDC’s innovative programs are helping countries collect and use more detailed data to target HIV treatment services to where they are needed most and to reduce the cost of delivering services. These activities also support greater accountability and transparency in the use of U.S. government funds. CDC works with key partners such as the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria —to which the United States is the largest contributor—to ensure complementary programming for maximum impact of investments.
CDC has contributed to saving millions of lives through PEPFAR. Across the globe, AIDS-related deaths have fallen by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. The increased life expectancies of people in their most productive years have helped build more secure families and bolstered fragile nations devastated by the HIV epidemic. New pediatric HIV infections have dropped by 58 percent since 2000. Worldwide, 220,000 children became newly infected with HIV in 2014, down from 520,000 in 2000. This significant achievement is due largely to evidence-based programming to prevent mother-to-child transmission. Still, millions of people around the globe are waiting for access to lifesaving antiretroviral drugs.
The United States has made an unwavering commitment to work with partner governments and other stakeholders to turn the tide on HIV/AIDS. The goal of achieving an AIDS-free generation worldwide is a shared responsibility, with partner countries in the central role.