The Aids epidemic could be under control by 2030 if countries across the globe put in the effort needed, according to a new report.
The document was published by the United Nations Aids agency ahead of a conference in Australia next week and it showed that the number of new infections and deaths from the disease are both falling.
In 2013, there were 2.1 million new cases, 38 per cent fewer than the 3.4 million recorded in 2001. Some 35 million people worldwide are now living with HIV, while Aids has killed around 39 million people out of the 78 million it has infected since its emergence in the 1980s.
Deaths per year now reach around 1.5 million, having fallen by a fifth over the past three years.
Director of UNAIDS Michel Sidibe said: ‘The Aids epidemic can be ended in every region, every country, in every location, in every population and every community. There are multiple reasons why there is hope and conviction about this goal.’
However, the organisation and charity Medecins Sans Frontieres said the pace of effort aimed at eradicating the disease needs to be upped if this goal is to be achieved in just over 15 years.
‘If we accelerate all HIV scale-up by 2020, we will be on track to end the epidemic by 2030. If not, we risk significantly increasing the time it would take,’ added Mr Sidibe.
For example, many people in developing countries still cannot access the antiretroviral drugs they need to control their HIV, something that is significantly shortening their life expectancy.
If the 2030 goal were to be met, 11.2 million Aids deaths could be averted, as well as a further 18 million new HIV infections.
However, it may also be important to ensure that people are still being educated about the fact that HIV and Aids are still a serious threat.
According to a poll by the MAC AIDS Fund, a third of 12 to 17-year-olds in the UK think they can’t catch HIV through unprotected sex, BBC Radio 1’s Newsbeat reports. Almost 90 per cent assumed they would not be at risk of contracting it or Aids in their lifetime.