Over the past five years, the global death rate from HIV dropped 21 percent, although vast disparities exist between different regions in the world when it comes to battling the epidemic, aidsmap reports. Investigators published the most recent results of the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010 in the journal AIDS. The study looks at the effects of 291 diseases and injuries between 1990 and 2010 in 187 countries, drawing its HIV/AIDS estimates from UNAIDS' 2012 estimates.

The study found that, in 2010, HIV/AIDS was the fifth leading cause of global disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs). HIV/AIDS was the leading cause of DALYs for people 30 to 44 years old living in 21 countries in eastern, central and southern Africa, the Caribbean and including Thailand.

AIDS-related deaths and HIV-related disability are still on the rise in 22 percent of the 182 countries that have documented AIDS cases. This is largely because these countries have low numbers of HIV cases or because their epidemics are relatively young. However, there are countries with large epidemics in which the AIDS death rates have no indication of abating, including Russia, Ukraine and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

To read the aidsmap story, click here.

To read the journal abstract, click here.