Next week the 70th UN General Assembly will take place in New York. This year marks an important milestone as we transition from the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a new global agenda agreed upon by world leaders to address the major challenges facing our world today. Combatting HIV/AIDS and malaria was one of the core goals of the MDGs and because of that targeted focus we have made huge strides in tackling the epidemic.
We must build on that momentum. Starting at the Social Good Summit, and over the next two weeks, we will hear from leaders, implementers, researchers and stakeholders about the arc of AIDS activism and next generation that beats AIDS. So where does HIV/AIDS really stand? What progress has been made? Leading up to these global conversations, here are five facts to know:
- There are 42% less AIDS-related deaths in the world since their peak in 2004
Dropping from an estimated 3.5 million cases to 2.1 million. Overall, we can count 35% fewer new HIV infections.
- There are 15 million people living with HIV who are now receiving antiretroviral therapy (ART)
15 years ago, we dreamed of reaching and treating 15 million people infected with HIV by 2015. Now that dream has become a reality -- An immense increase from just 800,000 in 2003
- There has been an increase of life expectancy by over a decade
This is a change of historic proportion. Additionally, between 1995 and 2013, antiretroviral therapy has averted 7.6 million deaths.
- There is expanded knowledge of HIV globally as well as individual status
Knowing you are HIV-positive is a crucial step in prevention and treatment. Now, 35% of young people have accurate basic knowledge of HIV transmission and 54% of adults living with HIV know their status.
- There is a decrease of new HIV infections among children
There has been a 58% decline in new HIV infections among children and 1.4 million new HIV infections have been averted.
Achieved in only the past 15 years, these are remarkable milestones that show what is possible when the global community comes together. Looking ahead, representatives from 193 countries will gather at the United Nations General Assembly next week to formally adopt the Sustainable Development Goals, which aim to end extreme poverty, protect the planet, and improve the lives of billions of people across the globe.
YOU can be part of this movement and ensure that HIV/AIDS is prioritized in the conversation by joining thousands of supporters under one sky for the Light the Way Campaign. The campaign kicks off on Friday, September 25th in Australia and moving across more than 70 countries from India to Brazil.
Together — with flashlights, candles, cellphones, and more — there will be a global movement to shine a light on this critical issue. The light seen around the world will lead up to United Nations General Assembly in New York. Join the movement, share your pictures on social media, and help #LightTheWay. Together, we can drive future progress for HIV/AIDS.