26 November 2009

The end of the beginning in the fight against AIDS?

While it is not a reason to start partying or to speculate at the end of the epidemic but greater access to anti-retroviral drugs has helped cut the death toll from HIV /AIDS by more than 10% over the last fie years.

According to the BBC the World Health Organization and the Joint UN Programme on HIV/Aids (UNAids) say that the number of people worldwide are infected with HIV (33.4m) is higher than the number infected two years ago (33m). However this is because fewer people are dying.

Furthermore, there has been a significant drop in the number of new HIV infections. UNAids and WHO say better access to powerful drug treatments has helped save many lives. It is estimated that the availability of effective treatment has saved the lived of some 2.9 million lives.

New HIV infections have been reduced by 17% over the past eight years. In sub-Saharan Africathe number of new infections has fallen by around 15% since 2001 - equating to about 400,000 fewer infections in 2008 alone. Infection rates were down by nearly 25% in East Asia, and by 10% in South and South East Asia.

Director general of the World Health Organization Dr Margaret Chan said: "International and national investment in HIV treatment scale-up has yielded concrete and measurable results. We cannot let this momentum wane. Now is the time to redouble our efforts, and save many more lives."

UNAids executive director Michel Sidibe said although prevention programmes had helped cut new infections, they were often "off the mark". "If we do a better job of getting resources and programmes to where they will make most impact, quicker progress can be made and more lives saved," he said.

This is heartening news, especially the reduction in new infections. We are not out of the woods by a ling chalk but things are heading in the right direction at last


Kay Dennison said...

What great news!!!! Than thanks!!!!

jmb said...

What a long process this has been but this is hopeful news. Whatever happened on the vaccine front for this disease I wonder.

SnoopyTheGoon said...

Sounds good indeed.

Knatolee said...

GOod news indeed! My cousin died of AIDS in 1992,before the anti-retrovirals and such.

jams o donnell said...

There is a long way to go but this is certainly heartening news

James Higham said...

Do those stats apply to Africa?

jams o donnell said...

Apparently they do James