The World Health Organisation on Tuesday said African countries including Nigeria are unlikely to end AIDS as a public health threat by 2030. This was disclosed in a statement by the world health governing body and made available to journalists.
According to the WHO regional director for Africa, Dr Moeti Matshidioso, two out of three new infections of HIV occurred in the African region. She said, “Last year, two out of every three new HIV infections occurred in the African Region, corresponding to almost 2,500 new HIV infections every day. Sadly, AIDS claimed the lives of 460 000 people, or a shocking 1 300 every day, in spite of free access to effective treatment.
“The challenges notwithstanding, Africa has made significant progress against HIV in the past decade, reducing new infections by 43 per cent and nearly halving AIDS-related deaths. In the Region, 86 per cent of people living with HIV know their status, and 76 per cent are receiving antiretroviral therapy.
“We also salute Botswana, which is on the home stretch to eliminating mother-to-child HIV transmission in what is a truly remarkable public health success.
“Only 16 countries have been certified for eliminating mother-to-child HIV transmission, none of which had as large an epidemic. It’s taken more than two decades of hard work by leaders, health workers and communities, illustrating what is possible when the health and welfare of mothers and children are prioritised.
“The continent as a whole is, however, unlikely to end AIDS as a public health threat by 2030, after we fell short of the expected 75 per cent reduction in new HIV infections and 81 per cent reduction in AIDS-related deaths by 2020.
“Despite the very high percentages of people living with HIV who know their status, and treatment rates, new HIV infections and AIDS-related deaths are not decreasing concomitantly.”