Slow but sure progress appears to be being made in fighting AIDS across the world. Last year was the 12th in succession in which there was a fall in the number of deaths, and in the number of new cases.
Even so, according to the United Nations, about 2.6 million people contracted the HIV virus last year, though this is nearly 20 per cent fewer than the figure in 1997, the worst year ever recorded. The worst year so far for deaths was 2004, when the total was 2.1 million. Last year, it was down to 1.8 million.
The executive director of the UN’s AIDS programme, Michael Sidibe said: ‘We have halted and begun to reverse the epidemic.’ There are more than 33 million people living with HIV; two-thirds of them in sub-Saharan Africa, still the worst affected region. (See also my blogs of Sept 4, 2009 and Sept 18, 2010.)
*For the history of AIDS, see A Disastrous History of the World. Reviews of the new paperback edition:-