20 July 2017

Africa: People Who Die From Aids Nearly Halved From 1.9 Million to 1 Million - UN

Photo: FUNDSFORNGOS

UN says the annual number of people who die from AIDS has nearly halved from 1.9 million to one million between 2005 and 2016.

According to the UNAIDS agency, the share of people with HIV who have access to medical treatment has also risen to above 50 per cent for the first time.

UNAIDS said in 2016, there were 36.7 million people around the world who were living with the virus that weakens the immune system and could lead to AIDS.

Among them, 53 per cent were able to get medicine that suppresses the virus.

Southern and Eastern Africa have seen the most dramatic improvements, with annual new infections dropping by 29 per cent since 2010, while annual AIDS fatalities plummeted by 42 per cent.

In these two African regions, life expectancy has jumped by 10 years in the past decade.

"As we bring the epidemic under control, health outcomes are improving and nations are becoming stronger," UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibe said.

Amid the overall positive trend, UNAIDS sounded the alarm over developments in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, the only world regions where HIV infections and AIDS-related deaths are on the rise.

An estimated 42 per cent of the infections in these regions are caused by contaminated needles that are used to inject drugs.

Northern Africa and the Middle East are two additional problem areas.

Only one out of five people living with HIV in these regions is getting medicine to suppress the virus, UNAIDS said.

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