More than 20 countries in sub-Saharan Africa – the world’s worst affected region – have seen a reduction of over 25% in new cases of HIV infection. The United Nations says it is because of greater awareness and wider use of condoms. On the other hand, says the UN, cases are on the increase in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, and among gay men in developed countries.
Anti-AIDS drugs are having an increasing impact, with more than five million people now taking them – a 12-fold increase over the last six years. This has meant there were 200,000 fewer deaths in 2008 than in 2004.
Worldwide, though, there are still 7,400 new cases every day – with 40% of them among young people aged 15 to 24. Of every five people newly infected, only two get treatment. Tuberculosis remains one of the main causes of death among people infected with HIV, even though it is preventable and curable. Over half a million died this way in 2008.
The UN is calling for another £6 billion to be invested in the worldwide fight against the disease. (See also my blogs of Feb 18 and Sept 4, 2009.)