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Good News, Bad News on AIDS

Good News, Bad News on AIDS


In the past decade new HIV infections have declined by almost 25%, AIDS-related deaths have decreased, and access to treatment, preventive services, and care has increased greatly, according to a new report from the United Nations.

But amid the good news, there are concerns -- the improvements are unevenly distributed around the world, fall short of goals, and could easily reverse, notes the U.N. Joint Programme on HIV/AIDS.

"We have made tremendous progress in stabilizing or reducing rates of new infections in nearly 60 countries," UNAIDS executive director Michel Sidibe (pictured) said in the introduction to the report, released Thursday. "But this success only highlights the rampant stigma and discrimination that contributes to rising infection rates among key populations at higher risk, and to the vulnerability of women and girls."

From 2008 to 2010, the incidence of HIV among gay men rose from 30% to 36%, and among sex workers it rose from 44% to 50%, the document related.

Also, while antiretroviral drugs have extended the lives of people in developed countries, people in impoverished nations have limited access to them. "People in rich countries don't die from AIDS any more, but those in poor countries still do -- and that's just not acceptable," former U.S. president Bill Clinton wrote in the report.

UNAIDS released the document in advance of Sunday's 30th anniversary of the first report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of the disease that would become known as AIDS. Read an Associated Press story on the report here.

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