AIDS deaths decreasing worldwide
Fewer people infected with HIV globally are dying as more of them get access to crucial antiretroviral drugs, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, the United Nations AIDS programme said yesterday.
The UN estimates that about 34 million people are living with HIV.
It said in a report released ahead of the International AIDS Society's 2012 annual meeting set for next week in Washington, DC, that the number of worldwide AIDS-related deaths fell to 1.7 million last year - down from 2.3 million in 2005 and from about 1.8 million in 2010.
The decline has been fuelled by greater access to the medications that help more people live with the disease.
An estimated eight million people in low- and middle-income countries are now receiving antiretrovirals, and the UN has set a target to raise that to 15million people by 2015.
"One of the key messages I believe will come out of the conference is one of hope that we should be able to achieve the 15million target by 2015," Dr Gottfried Hirnschall, director of the HIV Department at the World Health Organisation said during a briefing in Geneva.
UNAids deputy executive director Paul De Lay said progress in treating the disease could be jeopardised by a surge in infection seen in smaller patient groups, including in the US.