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AIDS Cases Climb, Amid Signs of Progress Against Disease
Annual update on state of epidemic released for World AIDS Day


November 21, 2005

The number of people living with HIV/AIDS in the world rose by 5 million in 2005, according to AIDS Epidemic Update 2005, an annual report on the state of the epidemic released by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and the World Health Organization.

There are 40.3 million persons living with the disease, the report finds, and 3 million died of AIDS-related causes in 2005.



A press release issued with the November 21 report underscores evidence that adult HIV infection rates have decreased in Kenya, Zimbabwe and several Caribbean nations. At the same time, the numbers reveal that transmission is still increasing and will not reverse without greater efforts.

International health officials announced the report in 21 cites around the world, with the principal announcement held in New Delhi. At that event, UNAIDS Executive Director Peter Piot expressed optimism about the declining AIDS rate in selected countries.

"AIDS is a problem with a solution," Piot said in a New Delhi speech.

Piot said declining AIDS rates in a few countries are one of three major points to emerge from the 2005 findings. Another is that the HIV virus is still outstripping the efforts against it, he said, adding that global efforts against the disease have gained momentum.

"So much so that for the first time we can hope to get ahead of the epidemic," Piot said.

The UNAIDS head said world leaders have recognized the significance of the anti-disease campaign, and financing for the AIDS response has climbed dramatically over the last decade, from less than $300 million a decade ago to about $8 billion now.

The United States is the single largest donor to the international AIDS response through the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, a five-year, $15 billion program targeting AIDS relief to 15 countries, with other assistance efforts underway in 100 nations.


On the Web:

The AIDS Epidemic Update report is available on the UNAIDS Web site.


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