New HIV infections down 33 percent since 2001: UN

Geneva, Sep 23 (IANS): A UN report Monday said new HIV infections among adults and children were estimated at 2.3 million in 2012, down 33 percent from 2001.

New HIV infections among children have been reduced more than half from 2001 to reach 260,000 in 2012, while AIDS-related deaths have dropped by 30 percent since the peak in 2005 as access to antiretroviral treatment expands, Xinhua reported citing a latest report released by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS).

Standard antiretroviral therapy consists of the combination of at least three antiretroviral drugs to maximally suppress the HIV virus and stop the progression of HIV disease.

In 2011, UN member states set a target of reaching 15 million people with HIV treatment by 2015.

The report said, by the end of 2012, 9.7 million people in low and middle-income countries were accessing antiretroviral therapy, an increase of nearly 20 percent in just one year.

Moreover, the World Health Organisation set new HIV treatment guidelines this June, expanding the total number of people estimated to need treatment by more than 10 million.

"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," UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibe said in a statement.

Significant results have also been achieved toward meeting the needs of tuberculosis (TB) patients living with HIV, as TB-related deaths among people living with HIV have declined by 36 percent since 2004, the report said.

However, the report noted that slow progress was made in ensuring the respect of human rights, securing access to HIV services for people at risk of HIV infection, particularly people who use drugs, and in preventing violence against women and girls.

Besides, gender inequality, punitive laws and discriminatory action are continuing to hamper national responses to HIV and concerted efforts were needed to address these persistent obstacles to the scale-up of HIV services for people most in need, the report said.


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Title: New HIV infections down 33 percent since 2001: UN

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