AIDS Infection Rate Steady, But Deaths Decline

Better access to drugs, safe-sex efforts helping, UN report finds
By Drew Nelles,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 29, 2008 3:21 PM CDT
UNAIDS Deputy Executive Director Michel Sidibe presents the book of the new report on the global AIDS epidemic, Tuesday, July 29, 2008.    (AP Photo/Keystone, Salvatore Di Nolfi)
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(Newser) – Although global AIDS infection rates have remained constant, deaths from the disease dropped by 10% last year as more patients got access to drugs, the United Nations finds. The UN attributes the drop in deaths—from 2.7 million to 2 million—to better help for HIV-positive mothers, increased condom use, and fewer teens having sex before age 15, Bloomberg reports.

“This is the most positive report we've ever issued in terms of treatment access and reaching out to high-risk populations,'' a UN official says. Still, with hopes for an HIV vaccine fading after the failure of Merck’s efforts last year, the 25,000 AIDS experts meeting next week in Mexico City will have their work cut out for them.