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U.N.: AIDS Epidemic Slowing Globally

U.N.: AIDS Epidemic Slowing Globally

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Safe-sex education and condom use have contributed to bringing the rate of new HIV infections down by 19%, the UNAIDS reported Wednesday.

The United Nations' agency on studying and fighting the epidemic said the figure is in contrast to 1999, when the HIV rate was highest. Additionally, nearly 20% fewer people are dying of AIDS complications than in 2004 due to new treatment, according to NPR.

UNAIDS executive director Michel Sibidé told NPR that 56 countries have stabilized or even slowed the rate of infection, and that the organization has extended its goal of ensuring that all infected people have access to lifesaving drugs from 2010 to 2015. In five years the number of people in treatment has gone from 500,000 to 5 million.

But even with all of these advances, 10 million people around the world are waiting for treatment, and funding for UNAIDS, which provides medications to many, is facing fiscal setbacks.

"We have 5 million people on treatment — if we stop, these people will start dying six months from now," Sibidé told NPR. "Most of them don't know what will happen to them. And most of them are from the poorest segments of society."

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