WORLD> Health
UN report says 33.2 million people living with HIV
Updated: 2008-06-10 06:24

UNITED NATIONS -- An estimated 33.2 million people worldwide were living with HIV as of December 2007, according to a UN report released Monday.

The report, prepared by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, said that the "annual rate of new HIV infections appears to have decreased over the last decade."

"Since 2006, progress in containing the HIV epidemic is now being seen in nearly all regions of the world," said the report. " The world is staring to reap the benefits of the unprecedented investments made during the present decade in responding to the HIV epidemic."

In 2007, an estimated 2.5 million people were newly infected, down from 3.2 million in 1998, while the annual number of AIDS deaths has declined from 3.9 million in 2001 to 2.1 million in 2007. Antiretroviral coverage reached 3 million people in low-and middle-income countries, approximately 30 percent of those in need.

Despite the existence of affordable treatments for tuberculosis, only 31 percent of people with HIV/TB co-infection received both antiretroviral and anti-TB drugs in 2007, the report said, adding that the rate of progress in expanding access to essential services is failing to keep pace with the expansion of the epidemic itself.

While an additional 1 million people were started on antiretrovirals in 2007, 2.5 million people were newly infected, it said.

The report also pointed out that new infections continue to increase in several countries, while coverage for essential HIV prevention, treatment, care and support remains far too low in many parts of the world to have a major impact on the course of the epidemic.

"Moreover, recent progress cannot obscure the epidemic's continuing human toll, including the deaths of an estimated 25 million people from AIDS since the start of the epidemic," it said.

The UN chief's report, which is based on analysis of inputs from governments on national progress in the response to HIV, will be presented to the General Assembly at a high-level meeting on AIDS to be held on Tuesday and Wednesday at the UN Headquarters in New York.