UN slashes HIV numbers26th November 2007
The United Nations has admitted that previous estimates of the number of people in the world living with HIV/AIDS were too high, revising the total downwards from 39.5 million to 33.2 million.
However, the UN AIDS body denied allegations that it had deliberately inflated the numbers in order to attract more funding.
Paul De Lay, director of monitoring and policy at UNAIDS, called the accusations "absurd".
The revisions were jointly announced by UNAIDS and the World Health Organisation (WHO), who said they now believe that the worldwide number of infections had peaked somewhere between 1997 and 2001.
The biggest impact on the new figure came from an overestimation of the numbers of people with HIV living in India.
Another adjustment comes from the fact that Unaids now assumes that someone infected with the virus and getting no antiretroviral drugs will live an average of 11 years, not 9.
Global HIV prevalence - the percentage of people living with HIV- has now levelled off and that the number of new infections has fallen, in part as a result of the impact of HIV programmes.
But WHO warned that somewhere between 1.8 million and 4.1 million people became newly infected and around two million people died of AIDS in 2007.
Countries in sub-Saharan Africa saw an estimated 1.7 million ne HIV infections in 2007, which the agency said was 'a significant reduction' since 2001.
But the region was still seriously affected, with around 22.5 million people living with HIV, making up 68% of the global total.
Since 2001, when the United Nations Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS was signed, the number of people living with HIV in Eastern Europe and Central Asia has increased by more than 150% from 630,000 to 1.6 million in 2007.
In Asia, the estimated number of people living with HIV in Vietnam has more than doubled between 2000 and 2005 and Indonesia has the fastest growing epidemic, WHO and UNAIDS said.
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Title: UN slashes HIV numbers
Author: Luisetta Mudie
Article Id: 4830
Date Added: 26th Nov 2007