A new report released by the United Nations Aids Agency (UNAIDS) on Tuesday shows that about 1.9 million adults become infected with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) globally every year for the past five years.

This statistics means about 36.7 million people are now infected globally. The fact sheet released alongside the report estimated that this year, 2.1 million people became newly infected with HIV.

Since the start of the pandemic 35 years ago, 78 million people have become infected with it.

With this statistics, UN has warned that there must be a global effort to prevent further spread of the infection.

The report said that new HIV infections among adults were now rising in Eastern Europe, central Asia, the Caribbean and Middle East and North Africa.

Executive Director of UNAIDS, Michel Sidibé, said at a news conference in Geneva that the power of prevention is not being realised.

He warned that the world needs to take urgent and immediate action as if there is a resurgence in new HIV infections now or the pandemic will become impossible to control.

The report found that roughly, only 17 million patients worldwide are currently on treatment with anti-retrovial HIV drugs which hold the virus in check and give patients a good chance of a long and relatively healthy life.

Michel Sidibé sounded the alarm saying “we have a five-year window of opportunity. If we miss this, we will have a rebound in this pandemic; we’ll have resistance and we will not be able to control the pandemic.”

Author: Ope Adedeji