Health & Family

AIDS took fewer lives in 2007

The number of AIDS deaths worldwide dropped 10 percent in 2007, as did the number of new infections in children, because of increasing access to treatment, the United Nations reported Tuesday.

Condom use and prevention efforts increased in many countries, and adolescent sex declined in some of the most heavily affected regions, according to the report.

“In a surprisingly short period of time, there has been a tripling of prevention efforts in some countries,” said Paul De Lay, director of evaluation for UNAIDS.

Despite these gains, however, the overall number of new infections during the year remained constant at about 2.7 million, fueled by increases in such countries as China, Indonesia, Kenya, Mozambique, Russia and Vietnam.

The biennial UNAIDS report was issued just days before Sunday's start of the International AIDS Conference in Mexico City.

The numbers are little changed from a report issued last November, in which the agency drastically revised estimates of HIV prevalence.

The new report found about 33 million people are now living with HIV. About 2.7 million people were newly infected with the virus in 2007, down from 3 million in 2001, and 2 million died of AIDS, down from 2.2 million the previous year.

To date, an estimated 25 million people cumulatively have died during the pandemic.

The report came a day before President Bush was scheduled to sign a newly approved bill that would devote $48 billion to fight AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis over the next five years, up sharply from the $15 billion spent in the past five.