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Young women in sub-Saharan Africa three times more likely to acquire HIV than men, UN report

New data from UNAids has revealed that girls and young women in sub-Saharan Africa are three times more likely to acquire HIV than adolescent boys and young men.

The Global Aids Report titled “In Danger” was launched on Wednesday ahead of the International Aids Conference in Montreal, Canada.

“The HIV epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa continues to be defined by stark gender disparities,” the report says.

The colliding of a number of issues over the past two and a half years, including the Covid-19 pandemic —along with economic and humanitarian crises — have placed the global HIV response under increasing threat.

In 2021, the report found that the Aids pandemic took a life every minute and over 650 000 Aids-related deaths were recorded.

“Progress against the HIV pandemic has faltered, resources have shrunk, and millions of lives are at risk as a result,” the report reads.’’

UNAids Executive Director Winnie Byanyima said the report shows far too many instances where not enough is being done to end the inequalities that drive pandemics.

“Faltering progress meant that approximately 1.5 million new HIV infections occurred last yearmore than 1 million more than the global targets,” she said.

“These data show the global Aids response in severe danger. If we are not making rapid progress then we are losing ground, as the pandemic thrives amidst Covid-19, mass displacement, and other crises.”

Some countries were commended for cutting new infections by 45% between 2015 and 2021, including Italy, Lesotho, Vietnam and Zimbabwe.

Meanwhile, in South Africa and Kenya, steady increases were achieved in the scale-up of oral pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP).

Health Minister Dr Joe Phaahla will lead the South African delegation to the International Aids Conference.

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