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HIV Infection Rates Down by a Third Across the Globe, UNAID Report

Update Date: Sep 29, 2013 05:45 PM EDT

New HIV infection rates dropped by one third across the globe between 2001 and 2012, according to a report released by UNAIDS, the United Nations organization dedicated to fighting HIV.

The drop was even steeper among children. In 2001 there were more than half a million new infections. By 2012 the figure had halved to just over a quarter of a million.

The group said the numbers showed "dramatic acceleration towards reaching 2015 global targets."

Worldwide, 2.3 million people were newly infected with the AIDS-causing virus last year, compared with 3.4 million in 2001, the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS, or UNAIDS, wrote in a report released earlier this week. HIV treatment is important as without treatment, people with HIV can go on to develop Aids which makes simple infections deadly.

Standard antiretroviral therapy consists of the combination of at least three antiretroviral drugs to maximally suppress the HIV virus and stop the progression of HIV disease.

In 2011, UN member states set a target of reaching 15 million people with HIV treatment by 2015.

AIDS-related deaths fell 30 percent to 1.6 million last year from the peak in 2005, the Geneva-based agency said.

"Not only can we meet the 2015 target of 15 million people on HIV treatment-we must also go beyond and have the vision and commitment to ensure no one is left behind," UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibe said in a statement.

"Today we have the tools we need to lay the groundwork to end the AIDS epidemic," Michel Sidibe, UNAIDS's executive director, said in the report. Still, "in several countries that have experienced significant declines in new HIV infections, disturbing signs have emerged of increases in sexual risk behaviors among young people."

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