Fight Against AIDS Makes ‘Dramatic’ Progress, Says U.N.

AIDS-related deaths and new HIV infections have dropped, according to the latest U.N. findings

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Access to drugs that treat HIV has increased rapidly, says the UN.

The number of AIDS-related deaths and the rate of new HIV infections have both dropped dramatically as access to better treatments has increased, according to a new report from the U.N.

AIDS-related deaths fell to 1.6 million in 2012, a decline of 30% from 2005 when the death toll was at its highest.

The number of new HIV infections dropped by a third from 2001 to 2012, with 2.3 million new infections recorded last year. Among children, new infections halved in the same period.

HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, can be kept under control with drugs known as antiretroviral treatment or therapy. By the end of 2012, around 9.7 million people in low- and medium-income countries had access to these treatments  — an increase of almost 20% in a year.

In 2011, U.N. member states set a target of having 15 million people with access to HIV treatment by 2015. The organization’s latest report, released on Monday, shows a “dramatic acceleration” towards reaching the goal, UNAIDS said in a press release.

“Not only can we meet the 2015 target of 15 million people on HIV treatment — we must also go beyond and have the vision and commitment to ensure no one is left behind,” said Michel Sidibé, executive director of UNAIDS.

Despite a flattening in donor funding for combatting HIV, which has stayed about the same as 2008 levels, countries’ domestic spending has increased, accounting for more than half of global HIV resources in 2012.

An estimated 35.3 million people globally were living with HIV in 2012.