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Is there Progress in Africa’s Battle against AIDS?

Likuni Hospital in Malawi, where mothers2mothers is working to stop the transmission of HIV to the unborn.

Are we winning the battle against AIDS in Africa? Thanks to efforts by governments, international donors, and civil society, many experts believe we are.  According to UNAIDS, in 2012 the number of new HIV infections in Sub Saharan Africa stood at 1.6 million – a reduction of 40 percent from 2001 levels.  During the same period, AIDS related deaths dropped by 22 percent.

How to explain these successes? Three key factors are antiretroviral drugs, male circumcision, and HIV testing and treatment of pregnant women. About 5 million HIV-positive individuals in Sub Saharan Africa now take antiretroviral drugs, which delay the progression of the disease and help reduce its spread. Circumcision reduces the risk of infection, and it is on the increase among African men—more than 1.7 million a year.  And 44 percent of pregnant women were tested for HIV in 2012 in Sub Saharan Africa—up from 8 percent in 2005.

Ugandan dancer–Tour of Light 2012.

Many Aid for Africa member organizations are fighting the disease through education, treatment, and care programs.  And they are raising awareness for those affected by HIV and AIDS. Children of Uganda, which provides educational support to AIDS orphans and vulnerable children, launched its Tour of Light in the U.S. in 2012. Ugandan orphans and others from vulnerable backgrounds performed music, dance and storytelling throughout the U.S.  The Tour will return in January 2014.

Former President Bill Clinton and Chelsea Clinton visit the Ubuntu Centre in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.

Ubuntu Education Fund, which supports some 2,000 South African children on the path out of poverty, implements HIV prevention strategies through educational programs, community outreach, and testing. In August, Ubuntu hosted the Clinton Foundation and former President Bill Clinton at their center.

Annie Lennox is spreading the word about ending mother-to-child transmission of HIV.

mothers2mothers helps prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV throughout Sub Saharan Africa. In London last month, the organization celebrated reaching one million mothers with a concert featuring singer/song writer/campaigner Annie Lenox.

In 16 African countries including Ghana, Malawi and Zambia the number of people living with AIDS is now below the number of new HIV infections.  Other countries, including Cameroon, Nigeria, and Togo lag behind due to lack of political will, inadequate funding, and poor healthcare delivery systems.

With 69 percent of the HIV-positive individuals living in Sub Saharan Africa, there is still much to do in prevention, care, and outreach.




Read other blogs about HIV and AIDS

Ending AIDS Begins with Africa

Rhita’s Story–Defeating Adversity through Education, Fighting HIV/AIDS by Giving Back