Despite a decline in some countries, the overall spread of HIV in Africa was greater this year than ever before, the head of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) said today, calling for urgent and sustained action to help the continent prevent and treat the disease.
“The reality is that in sub-Saharan Africa over 3 million people were newly infected with HIV in 2005 – that's 64 per cent of all new infections globally and more than in any previous year for the region. Young people are making up half of these new infections,” said Dr. Peter Piot in Abuja, Nigeria, at the opening of the 14th International Conference on AIDS and STIs (sexually transmitted infections) in Africa.
“AIDS continues to outstrip Africa's efforts to contain it and continues to pose an acute threat to future generations,” he added.
The conference, running from 4 to 9 December, will start with a two-day Leadership Forum hosted by President Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria, in which senior officials from will discuss the challenges and opportunities of expanding effective responses to the pandemic.
The Conference was founded in 1986 by African scientists belonging to the Society for AIDS in Africa.