The global response to HIV and AIDS is in “severe danger”, with the COVID pandemic and the war in Ukraine impacting efforts to fight the virus, the United Nations warns.
Initiatives to fight the virus were impacted by COVID and world events like the war in Ukraine, which caused funds to be diverted away from HIV, the report said.
“The global AIDS response is in severe danger,” executive director Winnie Byanyima said.
The report states annual new HIV transmissions have risen over several years in Eastern Europe, central Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and North Africa.
UNAIDS deputy executive director Matthew Kavanagh said the war in Ukraine and the worldwide cost-of-living crisis had hampered efforts to combat the virus.
“During the last two years, HIV services have been interrupted in many countries, resources have shrunk, and millions of lives are now at risk,” he said.
An estimated 38.4 million people were living with HIV worldwide last year.
About three-quarters of people living with the virus are taking antiretroviral treatments that can make the virus a manageable condition and prevent further transmission.
However, the report states the number of people accessing HIV treatment increased at the slowest rate in more than a decade.
It is estimated an additional $US29 billion ($41 billion) is needed to successfully combat the HIV epidemic in low- and middle-income nations and end the virus as a global public health threat.
“Many world leaders seem to have forgotten about HIV,” International AIDS Society president Adeeba Kamarulzaman said.
“We risk veering off track in efforts to end the global HIV epidemic.”