The number of people newly infected with HIV over the last year was
lower than the number of HIV-positive people who joined those
getting access to the medicines they need to take for life to keep
AIDS at bay.
But in a report to mark World AIDS Day on Dec. 1, the ONE campaign,
an advocacy group working to end poverty and preventable disease in
Africa, warned that reaching this milestone did not mean the end of
AIDS was around the corner.
"We've passed the tipping point in the AIDS fight at the global
level, but not all countries are there yet, and the gains made can
easily stall or unravel," said Erin Hohlfelder, ONE's director of
global health policy.
The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) that causes AIDS is spread
via blood, semen and breast milk. There is no cure for the
infection, but AIDS can be kept at bay for many years with cocktails
of antiretroviral drugs.
United Nations data show that in 2013, 35 million people were living
with HIV, 2.1 million people were newly infected with the virus and
some 1.5 million people died of AIDS. By far the greatest part of
the HIV/AIDS burden is in sub-Saharan Africa.
The AIDS pandemic began more than 30 years ago and has killed up to
40 million people worldwide.
The United Nations AIDS agency, UNAIDS, says that, by June 2014,
some 13.6 million people globally had access to AIDS drugs, a
dramatic improvement on the 5 million who were getting treatment in
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"Despite the good news, we should not take a victory lap yet," said
She highlighted several threats to current progress, including a $3
billion shortfall in the funds needed each year to control HIV
around the world.
"We want to see bold new funding from a more diversified base,
including more from African domestic budgets," she said.
ONE also noted that HIV is increasingly concentrated among
hard-to-reach populations such as injecting drug users, gay men and
sex workers - groups who are often stigmatized and have trouble
accessing treatment and prevention services.
(Editing by Kevin Liffey)
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