Despite the dramatic progress that has been made since the beginning of the outbreak, HIV/AIDS is still a global issue – albeit disproportionately affecting developing states more than others. According to UNAID’s latest figures available in 2017, 77.3 million people have become infected with HIV since the start of the epidemic.

1.8 million people became newly infected with HIV in 2017, and 940 000 people died from AIDS-related illnesses in the same year. Two thirds of the new infections occurred in the African region. The HIV epidemic not only affects the health of individuals, it impacts households, communities, and the development and economic growth of nations. Many of the countries hardest hit by HIV also suffer from other infectious diseases, food insecurity, and other serious problems.

Despite advances in our scientific understanding of HIV and its prevention and treatment as well as years of significant effort by the global health community and leading government and civil society organizations, too many people living with HIV or at risk for HIV still do not have access to prevention, care, and treatment, and there is still no cure. However, effective treatment with antiretroviral drugs can control the virus so that people with HIV can enjoy healthy lives and reduce the risk of transmitting the virus to others.  In 2017, 21.7 million people living with HIV were accessing antiretroviral therapy, an increase of 2.3 million since 2016 and up from 8 million in 2010. At this time, 59% of all people living with HIV were accessing treatment.

Huge progress has been made, however, global HIV prevention targets continue to be missed by a wide margin and declines in new HIV infections remain too slow.

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