The ultimate end of AIDS is a political and financial choice, as HIV funding has plummeted in 2022, a new report from UNAIDS indicates.
Botswana, Eswatini, Rwanda, the United Republic of Tanzania, and Zimbabwe are countries with some of the highest HIV rates globally. They have already achieved the "95-95-95" targets. This means 95% of the people with HIV know their status. Of those, 95% are on antiretroviral treatment that helps to manage the disease and live longer and healthier lives. Some 95% of people receiving the treatment are virally suppressed, meaning they cannot transmit HIV to their sex partners.
A further 16 other countries, eight of them in sub-Saharan Africa, the region which accounts for 65% of all people living with HIV, are also close to reaching the targets.
Progress has been the most significant in the countries and regions with the most financial investments, such as in eastern and southern Africa, where new HIV infections have dropped by 57% since 2010.
As 82% of HIV-positive pregnant and breastfeeding women had access to antiretroviral treatment in 2022, the number of new HIV infections among children decreased by 58% since 2010.
Meanwhile, new HIV infections are rising at alarming rates in Asia and the Pacific. Eastern Europe and Central Asia, as well as the Middle East and North Africa, have also seen steep increases since 2010.
"These trends are due primarily to a lack of HIV prevention services for marginalized and key populations and the barriers posed by punitive laws and social discrimination,” the UNAIDS report states.
In 2022, international and domestic sources reduced funding for HIV, which fell back to the same level as in 2013, amounting to $20.8 billion. That is far short of the $29.3 billion needed by 2025.
The report emphasizes that the end of AIDS can happen by increasing political will by investing in a sustainable response to HIV through financing evidence-based HIV prevention and treatment, health systems integration, non-discriminatory laws, gender equality, and empowered community networks.