President of International AIDS Society (IAS), Prof Adeeba Kamarulzaman, has emphasised the globe cannot afford to lose more ground in the response to HIV.
Kamarulzaman noted this during the launch of an annual report on the state of the global HIV response by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) on Wednesday in Montréal, Canada.
The launching of the report entitled: “In Danger: UNAIDS Global AIDS Update 2022” came ahead of the 24th International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2022) holding in same city.
Noting the impact of recent crises on the global AIDS response, the report outlines the latest changes in access to HIV resources and new data on the number of global acquisitions.
New data, according to Executive Director of UNAIDS, Ms Winnie Byanyima, reveals that during the last two years of COVID-19 and other global crises, progress against the HIV pandemic has faltered.
Byanyima said: “Resources have shrunk, and millions of lives are at risk as a result.
“Globally, the number of new infections dropped only by 3.6% between 2020 and 2021, the smallest annual decline in new HIV infections since 2016.
“The data shows the global AIDS response in severe danger.”
She however expressed courage while noting “we can end AIDS by 2030 as promised.”
Reacting to the findings, Adeeba, who doubles as AIDS 2022 International Co-Chair, said: “We cannot afford to lose more ground in the global response to HIV.
“Seventy per cent of new HIV infections in 2021 occurred among key populations, which illustrates that the most marginalized are also the hardest hit.
“We urgently need to make resources available, close research gaps, and eliminate the stigma that still pervades thinking.
“Most crucially, we must ensure that scientists, policy makers and activists come together to achieve progress.
“It’s time to re-engage and follow the science.”