Revised Estimates Talking Points
REVISED ESTIMATES BRIEFING
UNAIDS 2004 GLOBAL REPORT
- UN AIDS and WHO global estimates to be released next week (July 6 Global Launch) on AIDS will show a significant drop in several countries and an increase in others for last year, but the changes are mostly due to a refinement in methodology rather than actual improvement or deterioration in disease prevalence.
- Comparing the latest estimates with those published in previous years will lead to misleading conclusions. The latest estimates cannot be compared directly with previously published estimates. Why not? Because the assumptions, methodologies, and data used to produce the estimates are constantly being improved thanks to greater knowledge of the epidemic and better surveys from countries around the globe.
- The new, more accurate figures confirms what we here all already know that the trends are the same as before: the pandemic is growing fast in many countries and is at devastating levels in some.
- Improving and revising our estimates is the best way we know how to obtain a more accurate picture of the AIDS epidemic. While we are all well aware that fluctuations in estimates can undermine public confidence -- the fact is that we must urge all of our allies, donors, journalists and others to welcome the changes as evidence of a healthy flexibility and a willingness to constantly improve our methods as new information becomes available.
- We are in the business to save lives and its not an easy task – we do the best job we can with the information available and thus its our duty to keep improving in-order to stop this epidemic in its tracks.
- On the whole, though, the changes are due to a refinement in methodology rather than actual improvement or deterioration in disease prevalence. This is great news because since we last released estimates two years ago – we have conducted extensive training of epidemiologists in over 130 countries – therefore our 2004 report for the first time has detailed input from the majority of countries on the front line of this epidemic.
- Although the new global estimates are slightly lower than the previously published estimates, the actual number of people living with HIV has not decreased; rather the epidemic continues to grow based on revised 2001 estimates.
- Country Examples There is some good news in that some countries - so far - are better off than the earlier - less accurate - figures suggested.Specifically, our estimates will show "notably lower" figures of prevalence for Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Zambia and Zimbabwe and "notably higher" figures for Senegal.
- Specifically, our 2004 global report estimates will show "notably lower" figures of prevalence for Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Zambia and Zimbabwe and "notably higher" figures for Senegal.
But using our revised methodology– comparing 2001 revised estimates with the new 2003 figures
Rwanda the prevalence has remained stable at 5.1%
Kenya the prevalence has dropped from 8% in 2001 to 6.7% in 2003
Zambia the prevalence has dropped from 16.7 in 2001 to 16.5 in 2003
Senegal the prevanlance rates have stabilized at 0.8%
IF you compare the original 2001 estimates with the revised 2001 estimates:
Rwanda 200l original estimates 8.9 and revised 2001 estimates 5.1
Kenya 2001 original estimates 15.0 and revised 2001 estimates 8
Zambia 2001 original estimates 21.5 and revised 2001 estimates 16.7
Senegal 2001 original estimates 0.5 and revised 2001 estimates 0.8
- What is the global difference? On the global level there is a 13% difference between UNAIDS new 2003 estimates and the old 2001estimates (published in 2002). Therefore if we were to use the old estimates - we would be announce 43 million infected worldwide vs the 38 million figure.
- Achieving 100 percent certainty about the numbers of people living with HIV globally, for example, would require repeatedly testing every person in the world for HIV, which is logistically impossible. But we do not expect the numbers to continue to decrease as our methods improve.
- Overall - the new, more accurate figures confirms what we here all already know that the trends are the same as before: the pandemic is growing fast in many countries and is at devastating levels in some.