Sep 152013

United Nations’ flag

UNAIDS, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, is an innovative partnership that leads and inspires the world in achieving universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support. UNAIDS fulfills its mission by:

  • Uniting the efforts of the United Nations system, civil society, national governments, the private sector, global institutions and people living with and most affected by HIV;
  • Speaking out in solidarity with the people most affected by HIV in defense of human dignity, human rights and gender equality;
  • Mobilizing political, technical, scientific and financial resources and holding ourselves and others accountable for results;
  • Empowering agents of change with strategic information and evidence to influence and ensure that resources are targeted where they deliver the greatest impact and bring about a prevention revolution; and
  • Supporting inclusive country leadership for sustainable responses that are integral to and integrated with national health and development efforts.
  • UNAIDS’ Vision: Zero new HIV infections. Zero discrimination. Zero AIDS-related deaths.

“During the past 10 years, the AIDS response has been extraordinary, nowhere more so than in eastern and southern Africa. The countries in this region are using the latest tools available to save people’s lives, halt HIV transmission and achieve the dream of ending the AIDS epidemic. … The rate of new HIV infections has been reduced by more than 30% overall, and by more than 50% in seven countries in the region.

Since 2005, the number of people receiving lifesaving antiretroviral therapy (ART) has increased tenfold-from 625,000 to more than 6 million at the end of 2012. Botswana, Namibia, Rwanda, Swaziland and Zambia reached universal access to HIV treatment (80% coverage of people eligible for treatment) by the end of 2011. Kenya, Malawi, South Africa and Zimbabwe are on track to reach this goal.” – UNAIDS – 2013

AIDS-related mortality has declined worldwide from an estimated 2.3 million a year in 2005 to 1.7 million in 2011, 1.2 million of those dying in 2011 in sub-Saharan Africa ( Saving 600,000 lives a year is real progress. But over a million deaths a year means the fight against AIDS is still far from over. So the title of this new report from UNAIDS (“Getting to Zero”) is a hopeful projection and a call to action rather than an accomplished fact. As the report itself stresses, the gains must be consolidated and progress accelerated.

This AfricaFocus Bulletin contains brief excerpts from the report, which is available in full, including tables, charts, and footnotes, at

For previous AfricaFocus Bulletins on health issues, visit 

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