In DepthEpidemiology

AIDS epidemic nears control in three African countries

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Science  09 Dec 2016:
Vol. 354, Issue 6317, pp. 1213
DOI: 10.1126/science.354.6317.1213

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This World AIDS Day, 1 December, surprisingly good news came out of southern Africa, the region in the world that has suffered the most from HIV. A random household survey done of some 80,000 people in Malawi, Zambia, and Zimbabwe—each of which has more than 10% of adults living with the virus—found that more than 86% of the people on treatment had fully suppressed their virus. This means they can stave off AIDS and it vastly reduces the likelihood that they will transmit the virus to others. In keeping with this finding, the massive survey effort led by Columbia University's Mailman School of Health discovered that the rate of new infections in Zimbabwe and Zambia was substantially lower than previously estimated by modeling done by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) that relied on less rigorous data. This bolsters hopes that these countries are on the path to the UNAIDS goal of controlling their AIDS epidemics by 2030.