AIDS deaths worldwide drop as access to drugs improves

LOS ANGELES/GENEVA Wed Jul 18, 2012 2:40pm EDT

Volunteers hold hands before assembling the AIDS Memorial Quilt to mark the 25th anniversary of The AIDS Memorial Quilt and the 30 years since the HIV and AIDS epidemic was diagnosed in America, on the National Mall in Washington June 27, 2012. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Volunteers hold hands before assembling the AIDS Memorial Quilt to mark the 25th anniversary of The AIDS Memorial Quilt and the 30 years since the HIV and AIDS epidemic was diagnosed in America, on the National Mall in Washington June 27, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque

LOS ANGELES/GENEVA (Reuters) - Fewer people infected with HIV globally are dying as more of them get access to crucial antiretroviral drugs, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, the United Nations AIDS program said on Wednesday.

The United Nations estimates that about 34 million people are living with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) that causes AIDS. In a report released ahead of the International AIDS Society's 2012 annual meeting set for next week in Washington, D.C., it said that the number of worldwide AIDS-related deaths fell to 1.7 million last year from some 1.8 million in 2010. AIDS deaths peaked at 2.3 million in 2005.

The decline has been fueled by greater access to medications that help more people live with the disease. An estimated 8 million people in lower-income countries are receiving antiretroviral drugs, and the United Nations has set a target to raise that to 15 million by 2015.

Funding for HIV prevention and treatment totaled $16.8 billion last year. Of that amount, $8.2 billion came from international sources including the United States, which donated 48 percent of it. The amount of money spent by poor and middle-income countries reached $8.6 billion last year, surpassing international investment for the first time. The U.N. estimates that another $5 billion is needed to reach its 2015 goals.

The U.N. is also talking with pharmaceutical companies about how to improve access to lower-cost versions of simpler HIV treatments that combine several drugs in a single pill.

"We need innovation which will reduce the cost of medicine," Michel Sidibe, executive director of UNAIDS, said during a telephone interview. "If we want to maintain people on second- and third-line medicine it will not be possible with the price of the drugs we have today."

Paul De Lay, UNAIDS deputy executive director, speaking a briefing in Geneva, said overall progress in treating the disease could be jeopardized by a surge in infection seen in smaller patient groups, including in Eastern Europe and the United States.

"We are looking at an epidemic that's going to last another 40 to 50 years to get down to what we would consider the lowest possible number of infections," De Lay said.

"It reminds us that prevention must be sustained, just the way we talk about sustaining treatment. Until we have a vaccine this is still going to have to be part of all countries' health programs," he said.


Public health officials are considering wider use of HIV medications in people who are not infected with the virus but have a high risk of contracting it. Earlier this week, U.S. health regulators for the first time approved use of Gilead Sciences Inc's Truvada drug for preventing HIV.

Such antiretroviral drugs, also sold by companies like GlaxoSmithKline and Merck & Co, are designed to keep the virus that causes AIDS in check by suppressing viral replication in the blood.

Researchers are also working on using HIV-fighting antibodies to prevent infection, and they say their efforts could yield a licensed vaccine.

In the meantime, treating more people infected with HIV remains a priority. UNAIDS estimated that in sub-Saharan Africa, a region encompassing countries like Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa, 31 percent fewer people died from AIDS-related causes in 2011 compared with 2005.

The region "has actually been able to scale up more than other parts of the world, more than Eastern Europe and Central Asia, more than North Africa and the Middle East, and even more than Asia, with a 62 percent coverage rate of people eligible for treatment able to access treatment," said Dr. Gottfried Hirnschall, director of the HIV Department at the World Health Organization.

Access to therapy also led to lower rates of AIDS-related deaths in Latin America, the Caribbean and Oceania.

In Western and Central Europe, as well as North America, where antiretroviral therapy is extensively available, the combined number of AIDS-related deaths has varied little over the past decade, totaling about 29,000 last year, according to the United Nations.

Death rates were also stable in Asia at an estimated 330,000, while AIDS-related deaths continued to rise in Eastern Europe, Central Asia, the Middle East and North Africa.

New infections among children declined for the second year in a row amid focused efforts to protect them and their mothers against HIV. About 330,000 children were newly infected with HIV in 2011, down from 570,000 in 2003.

(Editing by Michele Gershberg, Maureen Bavdek and M.D. Golan)

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Comments (4)
umojaresearch wrote:
They say the same thing about Cancer and Cancer was actually cured over a hundred years ago. They suppress the cures because the remedies are not drug related.

Other issues regarding AIDS is where it really came from in the first place.

“It is entirely plausible that the AIDS epidemic was started in the U.S. deliberately. Few people would need to know of the plan, and the actions of one person would be sufficient to ignite the epidemic. Maximum effectiveness would require that the introduction of effective means of stopping the virus was blocked for as long as possible, by a carefully planned and sustained campaign of disinformation. The special problem of the release of an AIDS-like virus is that it opens up a Pandora’s Box, but it is naive to believe that nobody would be willing to do so.”

—Dr. John Seale
Member of the Royal College of Medicine, London
Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine
September 1988 (Volume 81 pp 537-539)

For the sake of his conservative audience of British physicians, Dr. Seale was understating his own conclusion based on his research into the AIDS epidemic. What he was trying to tell them, in the gentlest way possible, was this: the deliberate introduction of the AIDS virus into mankind is exactly what has happened.

Dr. Seale was one of the first medical doctors to break the code of silence about the true cause of the AIDS epidemic. His paper hit the British medical profession like a bombshell, but few among the general public became aware of the explosion. The media ignored the story. “The scale of the deception and the misinformation has been astonishing,” Dr. Seale wrote. “The virus has the properties of a skilled, devious, hidden and implacable invader with the capacity and willingness to kill every man, woman and child on earth. Dissemination of the virus is being actively encouraged by some who wish to destroy our society.”

1. Politics in Healing: The Suppression and Manipulation of American Medicine by Daniel Haley.

2. Cancer The Problem and The Solution, Dr. Johanna Budwig

3. A Cancer Therapy: Results of Fifty Cases and The Cure of Advanced Cancer By Diet, by Dr. Max Gerson

4. A Solution To The Cancer Problem, by Dr. Cornelius Moerman

5. DVD, Cancer – The Forbidden Cures, by Massimo Mazzucco.

6. You Don’t Have To Die, Harry Hoxsey.

7. The Persecution and trial of Gaston Naessens: The True Story of The Efforts to Suppress an Alternative Treatment for Cancer, AIDS and Other Immunologically Based Diseases, by Christopher Bird.

8. DVD, The Strecker Memorandum, Robert B. Strecker MD, PhD.

9. Olive Leaf Extract, by Morton Walker.

10. Smallpox Vaccine “Triggered AIDS Virus”, Pearce Wright, Science Editor, London Times, Monday May 11, 1987

11. WHO Murdered Africa, by William Campbell Douglas, M.D. There is no question mark after the title of this article because the title is not a question.

12. DVD, VACCINES, What CDC Documents and Science Reveal, by Dr. Sherri J. Tenpenny

13. This Is A Bio-Attack Alert, by Robert B Strecker MD, PhD, Attorney Theodore A Strecker, written March 28, 1986 and submitted to every U.S. Government Agency.

Jul 18, 2012 11:39am EDT  --  Report as abuse
imright12 wrote:
Many of the countries that the US, UN, GAVI, and the Gates Foundation support, especially in Africa and Asia, oppress, discriminate against, persecute, prosecute, imprison, torture, and even murder their own citizens who happen to be homosexual. Instead of the UN, GAVI and other international organizations pouring money into these bigoted countries, the organizations should tell the countries to take the money they use to harm their gay citizens and use that money to buy vaccines and food instead. These disgusting countries should not be using their scant resources to destroy the lives of innocent citizens who happen to be homosexual when there are more positive and productive things these bigots can use the money for to help all their citizens, including those citizens who are born gay. The US, UN, GAVI and the Gates Foundation should be absolutely ashamed to support the harassment, oppression, imprisonment, torture, and murder of so many innocent people.

Jul 18, 2012 4:14pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
mbgodofwar wrote:
What?! Circumcision played no role in reducing HIV? …Could it be because it only gives a false sense of security, doesn’t prevent STDs from spreading, and isn’t a substitute for condoms?

I can think of cancer as curable via the right vitamins and nutrition, but HIV/AIDS specifically targets the immune system.

Ah, umojaresearch, another American-hater. If you check the roster of pharmaceuticals selling AIDS medicine, you’ll see that American companies don’t even make up half the number. How could America possibly benefit by shelling out billions of dollars every year to AIDS research/treatment in other countries that don’t even provide a good for them?

Jul 18, 2012 11:59pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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