#Article (Archive)

HIV infects 65 million, kills 25 million -Says UNAIDS country officer

May 5, 2010, 1:34 PM | Article By: Abdou Rahman Sallah

Nuha Ceesay, UNAIDS Country Director has stated that global estimates by UNAIDS and WHO has revealed that HIV has infected 65million people and killed 25 million within a quarter of a century.

According to him, as at December 2008 an estimated 33million people are living with HIV, and almost half of them are women, including married ones.

He added that nearly 8,000 people die of AIDS- related illnesses and 12,000 others become infected daily.

Mr. Ceesay made this revelation at a two-day consultation meeting between The Gambia and Senegal CSOs on HIV/AIDS prevention and border issues, held at NaNA Conference Hall on Monday.

He pointed out that the global response to the HIV epidemic is at a crossroads, adding that the emergency footing of the response over the past 25 years and broad social mobilisation of stakeholders have spearheaded remarkable action and results.

He noted that the hard-won gains are fragile and then called for a renewed commitment in leadership to focus on results by bringing AIDS out of isolation and link it with the wider development endeavours, such as Poverty Reduction Strategic Paper (PRSP) and Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

He said they cannot just continue with business as, according to him, the epidemic itself has evolved over time and calls for creative solutions, based on sound and evidence informed strategic plans.

In 2006, Ceesay added, the world had made a historic commitment at the United Nations, aimed at achieving the goal of universal access to comprehensive prevention programme, treatment, care and support.

"This cross border initiative is a move in the right direction as it will ensure bringing synergy in the response between The Gambia and Senegal of the same people, but different political administration," he asserted.

For his part, Alieu Jammeh, the Director of the National Aids Secretariat stated that HIV/AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Infection are major concerns between the neighbouring countries, such as Guinea Bissau, Conakry, Senegal and The Gambia.

He stated that cross-border migration of people has been going on for centuries now, but noted that it has increased manifold in recent times due to economic boom, employment potential and population increase, thus posing a serious threat to the spread of HIV/AIDS. He said diseases like TB and HIV/AIDS are widely prevalent between these countries, but noted that no effective solutions could be put in place, particularly between Senegal and The Gambia.