EDITORIAL: New hope in Aids war

Saturday July 20 2019

New data released by the United Nations early this week give reason to hope that nations are making considerable progress in fighting the HIV/Aids pandemic. According to UNAIDS, HIV-related deaths last year fell to around 770,000 -- some 33 per cent lower than in 2010. This is encouraging.

However, serious concerns remain in many countries – including Tanzania. An estimated 37.9 million people now live with HIV -- and a record 23.3 million of those have access to some antiretroviral therapy (ART), UNAIDS said in its annual report. This glaring reality comes in the backdrop of worries because global efforts to eradicate the disease are stalling as funding dries up. Last year $19 billion (17 billion euros) was made available for Aids response, more than $7 billion short of the estimated $26.2 billion needed by 2020.

Broadly speaking, much of the world is seemingly losing focus of the fact that HIV is still a major problem – despite encouraging indicators of the past few years. Going forward, UNAIDS suggests there is need for increased political leadership to end the disease. The lack of political will coupled with decreasing finance risk undermining the progress made so far. This is why governments across the world – including ours – must revise their HIV strategies to tackle emerging new threats.