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In a positive development, the United Nations has said that the global rate of HIV infection and the number of AIDS-related deaths have been dramatically reduced in the light of advanced treatment and improvement in its reach to the people.
In its annual report released on Monday, UNAIDS said, “HIV which now infects around 35.3 million people worldwide, the death rate from AIDS and HIV infection were falling, while the number of people getting treatment is going up.”
“Not only can we meet the 2015 target of 15 million people on HIV treatment, we must also go beyond and have the vision and commitment to ensure no one is left behind,” Michel Sidibé, UNAIDS’ executive director, said in a statement with Monday’s report.
According to the report, AIDS-related deaths in 2012 fell to 1.6 million, down from 1.7 million in 2011 and a peak of 2.3 million in 2005. Interestingly, the number of people newly infected with the disease dropped to 2.3 million in 2012 down from 2.5 million in 2011.
At the end of 2012, some 9.7 million people in poorer and middle-income countries had access to AIDS drugs. The report says it is an increase of nearly 20 percent in a year.
Since 2001, there has been a 52 percent drop in annual new HIV infections among children and a 33 percent reduction in newly infected adults and children combined.
Despite a flattening in donor funding for HIV, which has remained near 2008 levels, individual countries’ domestic spending on the epidemic has increased, accounting for 53 percent of global HIV resources in 2012, the UNAIDS report says. According to the United Nations, total funding for the global fight against HIV and AIDS in 2012 was USD 18.9 billion. Unfortunately, the figures are about USD3 billion to USD5 billion short of the estimated USD 22 billion to USD 24 billion needed annually by 2015.
The Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) that leads to fatal disease AIDS can be transmitted via blood, breast milk and by semen during sex, but can be kept in check with cocktails of drugs known as antiretroviral treatment or therapy.