Significant challenges remain to defeat AIDS

While dramatic progress is being made in the fight against AIDS, a new report by UNAIDS found that major challenges remain to defeat the deadly disease, the Global Fund said on Sunday.

The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria said the report shows that while new HIV infections dropped by a third since 2001 globally, southern and eastern Africa are being disproportionally affected by the AIDS epidemic.

Sub-Saharan Africa accounted for 70 percent of all people living with HIV, 72 percent of all AIDS-related deaths and 70 percent of all individuals newly infected with HIV in 2012. Southern and eastern Africa are home to six percent of the global population, but the regions accounted for 52 percent of all individuals living with HIV last year.

The report found that uneven progress in the battle against AIDS is typically a result of inadequate access to essential HIV services and a lack of investments focused on certain populations, like sex workers, transgender people, people who use drugs and men who have sex with men.

UNAIDS discussed new opportunities to fight the HIV epidemic in specific locations, including expanded data collection and providing more attention to children and adults 50 and over.

On Monday and Tuesday, partners in the fight against AIDS gathered at the Global Fund's fourth replenishment in Washington with the goal of defeating the disease once and for all.