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New HIV data from sub-Saharan Africa highlight challenges, reasons for hope

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• Over 5 million children and adolescents in the region could become newly infected with HIV by 2050 if trends continue

 

• Data from multiple countries show impact of enhanced prevention and treatment efforts

 

AMSTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS – Researchers and public health experts presented promising new data on the HIV epidemic and response in sub-Saharan Africa at the ongoing 22nd International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2018).

While a UNICEF study highlighted the ongoing toll of HIV among young people in the region, data from several African countries demonstrated how enhanced HIV prevention and treatment programmes can dramatically reduce the impact of the epidemic.

“Despite extraordinary progress, HIV remains a serious threat to the lives of millions of people in sub-Saharan Africa,” Linda-Gail Bekker, President of the International AIDS Society and International Chair of AIDS 2018, said. “The data presented today underscore both the urgent need and the opportunity to invest in expanded HIV prevention and treatment programmes that can turn back the epidemic in Africa.”

Today’s press conference (July 24) highlighted five abstracts being presented at AIDS 2018.

Study projects heavy toll of HIV on young people in sub-Saharan Africa

An analysis conducted by UNICEF estimated that over 5 million young people aged 0-19 years will be newly infected with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa between 2017 and 2050. About two-thirds of those will be girls or young women, according to the study. The continued toll of HIV among young people reflects the rapidly growing youth population in the region, which is expected to increase by 85% by 2050, as well as the slow decline in HIV incidence in this group, which has fallen by some 3% per year since 2010.

Presenting the data, Aleya Khalifa of UNICEF noted that reducing the HIV burden among young people in sub-Saharan Africa will require better access to HIV prevention, sexual and reproductive health, and targeted testing services.

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