Via Reuters AlertNet: AIDS deaths, new HIV cases at 10-year low - UN. Excerpt:
Fewer people are dying from AIDS-related illnesses and being infected with the HIV virus than at any time in the last decade, but more progress is needed in prevention, testing and treatment, a report from the United Nations AIDS programme (UNAIDS) said on Wednesday.
“…the world deserves no less than a future of zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths,” UNAIDS executive director Michel Sidibé wrote in an introduction to the report.
Between 2001 and 2011, substantial advances were made towards that goal, thanks mainly to increased testing, greater access to antiretroviral drug therapy and more investment by low- and middle-income countries in strategies to combat AIDS.
Fewer people are dying from AIDS-related illnesses, with the number of deaths declining to 1.7 million in 2011. New cases of HIV infections were 2.5 million, the lowest level since 2001, according to UNAIDS figures for the last decade.
New infections in children - 330,000 in 2011 - are also at their lowest level after peaking at 570,000 in 2002-2003. This is primarily due to more HIV-infected women receiving antiretroviral drugs to avoid transmission of the virus during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Around the world, 34.2 million people are living with HIV, a number that has climbed steadily from 28.9 million people in 2001, said the report, released ahead of the 19th International AIDS Conference in Washington next week.
In 2011, more than 8 million people living with HIV in low- and middle-income countries were receiving antiretroviral therapy, up 20 percent from 2010. This represents 54 percent of the estimated 15 million people who need treatment.
The United Nations has set a goal of ensuring universal access to treatment by 2015.