United Nations and disease experts have said HIV could see a resurgence in just 5 years if there is no drastic acceleration in efforts to prevent and treat the AIDS virus.
An analysis by UNAIDS and an expert panel commissioned by The Lancet medical journal found the rate of new HIV infections is not falling fast enough, although they acknowledged that good progress has been made in improving access to life-saving AIDS drugs.
Said lead author of the report, Peter Piot:
"We must face hard truths -- if the current rate of new HIV infections continues, merely sustaining the major efforts we already have in place will not be enough to stop deaths from AIDS increasing within five years in many countries,"
This, plus high demographic growth in some affected countries, is increasing the number of people infected with the incurable virus who will need lifelong treatment, he said.
He noted that that while expanding access to treatment is essential, "we will not treat ourselves out of the AIDS epidemic" as HIV prevention is just as important.
The report said even just sustaining current HIV treatment and prevention efforts would require at least a third of total government health spending in the most affected African countries from 2014 to 2030.
Global data last year suggested a tipping point had been reached for the first time in the epidemic's history, with the annual number of new HIV infections lower than the number of HIV patients being added to those receiving treatment.
However, recent detailed studies have found clear evidence of resurgent HIV epidemics among high risk populations, such as gay men, in Europe, North America and Asia.