HIV/AIDS continues to be a major public health concern in the African Region with almost 26 million people living with HIV and accounting for 70% of all AIDS-related deaths in the world. While there has been a decline in the number of new HIV infections, prevalence in the Region remains unacceptably high, estimated at 4.8% in 2014 but much higher in Eastern and Southern Africa ranging from 5.3% in Kenya to 27.7% in Swaziland.
Considerable progress has been made in the fight against HIV/AIDS with the African Region having achieved the HIV targets of Millennium Development Goal 6. New HIV infections have declined by 41% since 2000 and more than 11 million people living with HIV are receiving HIV treatment which has contributed to a reduction of up to 48% in deaths due to HIV since 2005.
Despite major progress, the response is heavily funded by external resources with inadequate domestic financing, the current coverage of services is inadequate and the rate of expansion is too slow to achieve regional targets. The HIV incidence continues to increase in some countries especially among adolescent girls and young women. The declines in HIV-related deaths due to treatment are being challenged by increasing morbidity and mortality associated with co-infections, such as tuberculosis and viral hepatitis. Stigmatization and discrimination continue to hinder access to health services, particularly for children, adolescents, young women and key populations such as sex workers. In addition, many countries will need to transition to domestic funding of their HIV programmes in view of the changing donor priorities.
In recognition of the persistent challenges, a new WHO Global Health Sector Strategy on HIV/AIDS was adopted by the World Health Assembly in May 2016. The proposed framework aims at guiding the Member States in the African Region to implement the Global Health Sector Strategy on HIV, 2016 - 2021. It describes actions to accelerate HIV prevention and treatment interventions in the African Region towards ending the AIDS epidemic.
The actions proposed include prioritizing HIV prevention, expanding HIV testing services using diversified approaches and scaling up antiretroviral therapy by adopting innovative service delivery models.
The Regional Committee examined and adopted this framework.