Millennium Development Goal 6 achieved 9 months ahead of schedule
The Millennium Development Goal (MDG) relating to HIV and AIDS – halting and reversing the spread of HIV – has been met and exceeded, as announced by UNAIDS today.
The MDGs were established in 2000 – with targets ranging from reducing extreme poverty, to combatting HIV and AIDS, to providing universal primary education to all children by 2015. The sixth MDG relates specifically to halting and reversing the spread of HIV and AIDS by 2015, and achieving universal access to treatment for those who need it.
In 2000, 8,500 people were infected with HIV and 4300 people were dying of AIDS-related illnesses daily.
Between 2000 and 2014, new HIV infections decreased by 35%, from 3.1 million to 2 million new infections. In addition, the 83 countries that make up 83% of all people living with HIV globally have either halted or reversed their epidemics – including Kenya, India and South Africa.
In particular, marked improvements have been made in reversing the HIV epidemic among children. Access to prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) services has increased by 73%, with new HIV infections among children decreasing by 58%. We reported last week that Cuba were the first country to eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV.
AIDS-related deaths have also markedly decreased. In 2000, AIDS was almost always a death sentence, and many children did not live past their third birthday. Between 2005 and 2014, AIDS-related deaths decreased by 41%.
Progress made in reducing both new HIV infections and AIDS-related deaths is largely the result of expanding HIV treatment access. In 2000, less than 1% of all people living with HIV were on treatment and was only afforded by the rich, with large inequalities in access. Advocacy has helped bring HIV treatment to the masses. In 2014, 40% of all people living with HIV (15 million) accessed treatment, a 22-fold increase on 2000.
Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations stated: “The world has delivered on halting and reversing the AIDS epidemic. Now we must commit to ending the AIDS epidemic as part of the Sustainable Development Goals.”
The announcement was made at the release of a new UNAIDS publication in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, at the 3rd International Conference on Financing for Development. The book entitled, “How AIDS changed everything – MDG 6: 15 years. 15 lessons of hope from the AIDS response”, looks back over the last 14 years of the HIV epidemic, and how we can move forward with ending AIDS by 2030.