Feature story

UNAIDS Outlook 2010: Fresh perspective on the AIDS epidemic and response

24 November 2009


It’s clear that the HIV epidemic the world faces today is not the same as when it peaked in 1996. The number of people living with HIV globally is now at 33.4 million and although 2.7 million people became newly infected with HIV in 2008, good news is that this is a decrease by 17% over the last eight years.

There have been many successes in the AIDS response in recent times including increases in HIV treatment coverage and prevention of mother-to-child transmission services, and an indication of decline in HIV incidence in some regions. However, at the moment globally five people are becoming infected with HIV for every two people accessing treatment.

It is therefore critical that the way we respond keeps pace with and overtakes the epidemic if we are to see a real change in people’s lives, aspirations and futures.

UNAIDS Outlook 2010, a new publication launched today, explores new ideas and ways to use the data collected in the AIDS Epidemic Update companion report.

Outlook gives an overview of the epidemic with global and regional statistics, but also contains analysis offering the UNAIDS interpretation and eyes the data available in the more detailed AIDS Epidemic Update report from different angles.

The cover of Outlook features Prudence Mabele, the first black woman in South Africa to disclose her HIV status publicly in 1992 because she was “tired of the silence and stigma surrounding HIV,” as she puts it. Seventeen years down the road, Prudence is the executive director of the Positive Women’s Network she created in 1996. In Outlook we follow her for day.

The publication also poses a number of bold questions that call for a response: How can we use our knowledge of the HIV epidemic and response for more effective programming at country level? How do we become smarter about HIV prevention to make a real difference? What is the anatomy of a bad law from a human rights perspective?

Features include “Where does the Money for AIDS go?” exploring fund flows in the AIDS response and “Being the Change” digging deeper into issues on young people, sexuality and how behaviors are changing, mixed with captivating images and storytelling narratives to show the plight of individuals.

Tying the Outlook together is an intimate interview with UNAIDS Executive Director, Mr Michel Sidibé who as he approaches the end of his first year in office as UNAIDS head sees real change and is inspired by the perseverance of the human spirit every day. In this one-on-one with the reader, Mr Sidibé renews his commitment to push himself, UNAIDS and the world to deliver in the AIDS response.