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Published on 11 June 2008

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HIV treatment reaching too few


The number of people who became infected with HIV last year was more than double the number who started antiretroviral drug treatments in the same period, the United Nations (UN) has announced.

The figures show that the global battle against AIDS is having little impact, and UN officials said the burden on communities worldwide would continue to grow unless greater advances were made.

At the start of a UN debate on AIDS prevention, world leaders heard that 2.5 million people developed HIV last year, compared with just one million who began important antiretroviral treatments.

“Unless greater and swifter advances are made in reaching those who need essential services, the epidemic’s burden on households, communities and societies will continue to mount,” Ban Ki-moon, the UN’s secretary general said.

Antiretroviral drugs have allowed many patients to manage their illness, and have increased life expectancy by a considerable degree.

The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, which is backed by the UN, said last week that it alone had helped 1.75 million people worldwide receive the treatment this year, but UN figures showed that just over two-thirds of people with HIV are not receiving the drugs.

Copyright © PA Business 2008

The Global Fund

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