A report shows HIV in retreat in many African countries


From The Economist:

“Some researchers predict that several African countries will soon achieve “epidemic control”, meaning that fewer people are newly infected each year than die of the disease. New data from the American President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), a programme launched by George W. Bush in 2003 under which more than 11m people now get treatment, suggests just how close that goal may be. In hard-hit countries, such as Zimbabwe and Zambia, the rate of new infections has more than halved. The prevalence of HIV (ie, the total proportion of the population who carry the virus) has also fallen sharply, though it remains horribly high.

The number of infants infected by their mothers in the womb or via breastfeeding fell by half between 2010 and 2015. In South Africa infected mothers now pass on the virus in only 2% of cases, compared with 45% among infected mothers who don’t get the drugs.

Yet far less progress has been made among the young—and half of sub-Saharan Africans are younger than 19. With such a large cohort of youths starting to have sex, the total number of people with HIV is likely to rise even if the rate of new infections falls. Worryingly, efforts to reduce the spread of HIV are failing among young people and, in particular, among young women.”


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