December 1 marks World AIDS Day, which aims to promote awareness of the disease and mourn those who have died from it. Earlier this year, UNAIDS reported that the number of deaths from the HIV/AIDS pandemic has fallen. In 2018, there were 770,000 AIDS-related deaths, down from 1.7 million in 2005. Though that may seem like good news, progress in reducing new infections, increasing access to treatment and ending deaths is actually slowing down. In some countries, considerable progress has been made though and one notable example is South Africa where new infections and deaths have both been reduced by 40 percent since 2010.
Elsewhere, progress has stalled and there have been worrying setbacks in Eastern Europe and Asia where new infections have risen 29 percent. UNAIDS reported that the gap between resource needs and resource availability is widening and for the first time, the AIDS response has fallen by nearly $1 billion. Last year, $19 billion was available for the response, $7.2 billion short of the estimated $26.2 billion required by 2020. UNAIDS urged all partners to step up action and increase bilateral and domestic funding for fighting the disease.