New AIDS Cases Hit Plateau: UN

But number newly treated lags behind number newly infected
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Nov 22, 2011 4:30 PM CST
Executive Director of UNAIDS Michel Sidibe speaks during a conference on HIV.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – New cases of AIDS have held steady over the past five years at 2.7 million per year—but only about half of those newly infected people are seeking treatment, the United Nations’ AIDS agency says. About 1.35 million people, or one for every two new cases, started treatment last year, the New York Times notes. Still, that marks an improvement over two years ago.

Some 7 million people are currently getting treatment, out of 34 million infected worldwide. That’s just half the number that the UN says need treatment right away, and many of those who are being treated are on older, less effective drugs. Meanwhile, the economic crisis cut AIDS donations worldwide, UNAIDS noted. But the annual report said it had been a “game-changing year in science” and offered some hopeful stats: Infections have fallen in 22 countries, for example, thanks in part to treatment and safe-sex teaching.

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