Hillary Clinton: New HIV Infections Dropped by More Than Half … in Sub-Saharan Africa

By Melanie Arter | November 29, 2012 | 12:47 PM EST

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton gestures as she speaks during a ceremony in recognition of World AIDS Day, Thursday, Nov. 29, 2012, at the State Department in Washington, where she released The U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, (PEPFAR) Blueprint' for Creating an AIDS- Free Generation. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

(CNSNews.com) Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced Thursday that the number of new infections has dropped “dramatically” by more than half in “25 low- and middle-income countries, most of them in Sub-Saharan Africa.”

“We have cut the number of new infections dramatically. Just last week, UN aides announced that over the past decade, the rate of new HIV infections dropped by more than half in 25 low- and middle-income countries, most of them in Sub-Saharan Africa,” Clinton said.

“Listen to these numbers, in Zimbabwe, a 50 percent reduction. In Namibia, a 68 percent reduction, and in Malawi, a 73 percent reduction in the rate of new infections,” Clinton said at an event to commemorate World AIDS Day 2012, which takes place on Dec. 1. The secretary released the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).

Through PEPFAR, nearly 5.1 million people were “directly supported” with anti-retroviral treatment. “That is a 200 percent increase since 2008,” she said.

“So as we continue to drive down the number of new infections and drive up the number of people on treatment, eventually, we will be able to treat more people than become infected every year. That will be the tipping point. We will then get ahead of the pandemic, and an AIDS-free generation will be in our sight,” she said.

PEPFAR includes five goals – one of which is to target populations “at the greatest risk of contracting HIV, including people who inject drugs, sex workers and those trafficked into prostitution and men who have sex with men,” Clinton said.

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“When discrimination, stigma and other factors drive these groups into the shadows, the epidemic becomes that much harder to fight,” she said. The U.S. is supporting the efforts of other countries to expand services to these high-risk groups and investing in research to identify the most effective interventions for “each key population.”