HIV/AIDS Infection Estimates Drop Worldwide

December 08, 2007 02:28 PM
by findingDulcinea Staff
The Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS reports that internationally fewer people are contracting the HIV virus than previously thought; but there are suspicions that U.S. infection rates are on the rise.

30-Second Summary

On Dec. 1, as the world commemorated World AIDS Day, two prominent health agencies were reconsidering the statistics measuring the spread of the pandemic.

UNAIDS, the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS, has reduced its global estimate of people living with the virus in 2007 to approximately 33.2 million, down from 39.5 million in 2006.

At the same time, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control said that it is reviewing the accuracy of its most recent infection estimates, putting a hold on the data’s release.

Aids advocacy groups such as the Community HIV/AIDS Mobilization Project, or CHAMP, allege that the numbers will show that at least 35 percent more Americans are infected with the AIDS virus each year than the government has been reporting. The advocates allege that the delay in releasing the data as been, at least in part, politically motivated.

The estimated number of new infections per year in the United States has remained at 40,000 for more than a decade. However, in recent years federal funding for HIV prevention has declined. Advocacy groups say this trend has undermined the efforts of organizations that provide prevention and other services to HIV patients.  

CHAMP Executive Director Julie Davids told the Associated Press that if the CDC’s estimates are in fact higher than previously published, it will not be immediately certain whether the rate of infection itself is on the rise or previous statistics were wrong.

“But either way, this shows that prevention efforts are insufficient,” Davids said. The CDC is expected to release its analysis in early  2008.

Headline Links: AIDS statistics in the U.S. and abroad

Despite the downward revision in global HIV infection estimates, the San Francisco Chronicle writes that the number “still represents a ghastly human tragedy. The same analysis predicts that this year, 2.1 million will die of the disease and another 2.5 million will have become newly infected—6,800 new infections every day.” The Chronicle goes on to point out that for Sub-Saharan Africa, the “picture is still grim. Sub-Saharan Africa remains the epicenter of the global pandemic. Two out of three people in the world infected with HIV live there, and three out of four AIDS deaths occur there.”
U.S. infection estimates

Reactions: CDC explains delay and groups encourage prevention efforts

Reference Material: Information on HIV/AIDS


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