By Ononye VC

On this year’s World AIDS Day, the World Health Organisation, WHO, has disclosed that a total of 460,000 people were killed by AIDS.

This means that a shocking 1,300 people died every day in Africa despite free access to effective treatment in the region.

The world health body also noted that two out of every three new HIV infections occurred in the African Region, corresponding to almost 2,500 new HIV infections every day.

WHO, however, noted that despite the challenges, Africa has made significant progress against HIV in the past decade, reducing new infections by 43 per cent and nearly halving AIDS-related deaths?

Disclosing these in a message to mark the 2021 World AIDS Day with the theme: “End inequalities: End AIDS. End pandemic”, was WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti.

Moeti said: “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.

Moeti explained that the region cannot meet the 2030 target as it fell short of the expected 75 per cent reduction in new HIV infections and 81 per cent reduction in AIDS-related deaths by 2020.

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