Adebayo while lamenting low rate of HIV testing, disclosed that only 22 million out of over 37 million people now affected are undergoing treatment. To make matters worse, estimates indicate that only 75% of people with HIV know their status. But the agency says that number doesn't include the one in seven people living with HIV who don't know what their status is.
"In the hardest-hit countries, girls account for more than 80% of all new HIV infections among adolescents".
He said that the Day, which was commemorated annually on December 1, gave opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV and to show support for people living with the virus. Sex workers and their clients, transgender women and people who inject themselves with drugs are also disproportionately affected by HIV.
Over 30 years ago, in 1986, World Health Organization first evaluated rapid diagnostic tests for HIV.
Since the start of the epidemic in 1981 about 77.3 million people have become infected with HIV and 35.4 million [25.0 million-49.9 million] people have died from AIDS-related illnesses in the same period.
"Reducing new HIV infections is key to accelerating the response to HIV/AIDS in the Americas", said Dr. Espinal. More people living with HIV are now receiving treatment that is allowing them to live longer, healthier lives.
The good news is that there are many new ways of expanding access to HIV testing. Globally, 15- to 24-year-old women are twice as likely as young men to be infected.
In addition to the expansion of testing services, PAHO advocates for the provision of both post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) for those who may have been exposed to HIV, and pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to those at substantial risk of infection as part of the comprehensive package of HIV prevention services.
Dr Uche Okoro, Project Manager, Agency for the Control of AIDS in the Federal Capital Territory, said that the Day was set aside to create awareness on HIV and AIDS.
Mabuza addressed the official World Aids Day commemoration at the Dobsonville Stadium this afternoon.
However, it is also an important reminder that despite progress made, the world can not become complacent in its response to HIV.