HIV incidence worldwide has decreased 17 percent since 2001,and AIDS-related deaths worldwide decreased 10 percent in 2008, according to a report by the United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and the WorldHealth Organization (WHO) and reported by aidsmap. UNAIDS and WHO releasedtheir annual report titled AIDS Epidemic Update in advance of World AIDS Day on December 1. 

“The good news is that we have evidence that the declines weare seeing are due, at least in part, to HIV prevention,” said Michel Sidibé,executive director of UNAIDS. “However, the findings also show that preventionprogramming is often off the mark and that if we do a better hob of gettingresources and programs to where they will make most impact, quicker progresscan be made and more lives saved.” 

According to the article, it is estimated that nearly 3million lives around the globe have been saved because of access to HIVtreatment. Sub-Saharan Africa had the largest HIV prevention gains, with anestimated 400,000 new infections prevented since 2008. Increased access toantiretroviral therapy resulted in a 29 percent decline in AIDS-related deathsbetween 2002 and 2007 in Kenya and about a 50 percent decline in those deathsbetween 2003 and 2007 in Botswana.  

The report demonstrates progress against HIV/AIDS, but italso cautions that the fight is not over. In 2008, there were 2 million new HIVinfections. In addition, five people became HIV positive last year for everytwo people who started HIV treatment. HIV prevention efforts remain essentialto eventually ending the HIV/AIDS pandemic. 

Also, the report underscores that there are increasingHIV/AIDS epidemics in many parts of the world. Eastern Europe and Central Asiaare particularly serious, since they are the only regions on the globe withincreasing HIV incidence.