Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Promising News on a Killer Disease

Today from the U.N. perhaps some promising news on the HIV/AIDS front.

In their 2009 AIDS Update the U.N. is reporting data that shows the disease may have peaked in 1996 and that the rate of infection has remained unchanged since 2007.

There are still some grim numbers, though:

33.4 million people are living with HIV worldwide
- 2.7 million people were newly infected in 2008
- 2 million people died of AIDS related illness in 2008

Sub-Saharan Africa is still the hotspot accounting for 71% of new HIV infections in 2008.
Eastern Europe, though, is expected to be the focus of new infections in the coming years. Cases have been steadily increasing fueled by injection drug use and the fact that 50% to as many as 79% of cases are yet to be diagnosed.

Western Europe is not out of the woods as gay males in the U.K. are seeing a spike in numbers. North American numbers have remained steady at 1.4m.

"The good news is that we have evidence that the declines we are seeing are due, at least in part, to HIV prevention.... However, the findings also show that prevention programming is often off the mark and that if we do a better job of getting resources and programmes to where they will make most impact, quicker progress can be made and more lives saved"
Michel Sidibe, Executive Director of UNAIDS

Not part of today's U.N report but specific to Canada, populations of concern include the over 50 crowd, gay men in B.C. and Canadian Aboriginal populations. In 2006 58,000 Canadians were living with HIV/AIDS.


Eight-year trend shows new HIV infections down
U.N. News Release 24 Nov 2009

- Links to UN Report including Graphics and Interactive Map

HIV infections and deaths fall as drugs have impact
BBC Nov 24, 2009

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