Sub-Saharan Africa leads drop in new HIV infections: UNAIDS

17th September 2010, Comments 0 comments

Sub-Saharan Africa, the region worst affected by AIDS, is leading a decline in new HIV infections, UNAIDS said Friday, with new infections in the area declining by over a quarter in the last decade.

"The data shows that countries with the largest epidemics in Africa -- Ivory Coast, Ethiopia, Nigeria, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe -- are leading the drop in new HIV infections," said the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS in a statement.

Between 2001 and 2009, 22 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, which is the worst affected region, have posted a drop of more than 25 percent in new HIV infections.

"For the first time change is happening at the heart of the epidemic. In places where HIV was stealing away dreams, we now have hope," said UNAIDS executive director Michel Sidibe.

Better prevention measures and awareness are contributing to the decline.

A 12-fold jump in the number of people on HIV treatment has also been recorded in the past six years, bringing the total number of patients receiving medication to 5.2 million.

But while progress is made in the worst-hit areas, regions such as Eastern Europe and Central Asia are reporting growing epidemics, said UNAIDS.

In addition, a resurgence of new infections is occurring among male homosexuals in several developed nations.

© 2010 AFP

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