Cases of global HIV/AIDS drops

UN reduces global cases of HIV by 6m, but prevalence on rise again in US and UK

THE UN HAS altered its estimate of the number of global HIV/AIDS cases to 6 million, owing to better information and knowledge of the disease.

In 2006 UNAids and the World Health Organisation (WHO) said 39.5 million people were infected with HIV and needed life-saving treatment now. However today the UNAids annual report says the real figure is 33.2 million.

The significant fall in numbers could rouse criticism of the UN, who some have accused of wrongly inflating the extent of the AIDS pandemic, so as to gain more funds.

Nevertheless, the UN states the alteration is down to better assessment of the size of the epidemic in India. Improvements in data collection have also lowered figures in Angola, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria and Zimbabwe.

The decrease in numbers should not lead to complacency though said the director of HIV/Aids at the WHO, Kevin de Cock. ‘This remains the leading infectious disease challenge to global health,’ he said.

Adding: ‘We have to recognise the very long-term nature of the HIV pandemic. We’re facing decades of this problem. Of the 33.2 million infected, some of them require treatment now and all of them will in time.’

The UN report showed that countries like the USA, the UK, Germany and Uganda – once praised for lowering its HIV rates – now had numbers on the rise again.

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