Antiretroviral drugs for HIV therapy

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HIV risk in Africa: Antiretroviral drugs help with HIV therapy

In recent years, the number of new HIV infections and the number of people who have died from AIDS has decreased continuously. The program launched by the UN against AIDS (Unaids), however, warns in its recently published report not to become too careless in dealing with the risk of contracting HIV.

In 2012, around 35.3 million people worldwide lived with viruses. The trend is going down. 2.3 million people were newly infected with HIV last year, 70 percent of them in Africa in the regions below the Sahara. 2.5 million were newly infected in 2011. In Switzerland, however, the rate of new cases rose by 15 percent after three years of decline. In 2012, 645 new infections were registered. A year earlier, there were only 562. Looking at the period from 2001 onwards, the number of HIV infections fell by a third, according to Unaids. The number of people who died in 2012 is estimated at 1.6 million, which is also a decrease of one third compared to 2001.

It is encouraging that the number of children with HIV infections in particular continues to decrease, said Unaids director Michel Sidibé. Last year, 260,000 children were infected. That is 35 percent less than in 2009 and 52 percent less than in 2001.

This is mainly due to the use of antiretroviral drugs, which have been increasingly distributed to pregnant women, in order to reduce the risk of infection in children before and at birth. In some African countries there have even been spectacular successes. In Ghana, for example, the number of pregnant women treated rose from 32 percent in 2009 to 90 percent in 2012.

9.7 million people from developing countries received antiretroviral drugs at the end of last year, an increase of 20 percent over the previous year. In addition, therapy with these drugs not only reduces the risk of infection in AIDS-related illnesses and deaths, but also significantly reduces the outbreak of tuberculosis, writes Unaids.

By 2015, it would be possible to provide 15 million people with antiretroviral drugs, Sidibé said. This is even more than planned. According to the information, this is required from $ 22 to $ 24 billion a year, according to Unaids. In 2012, however, only $ 18.9 billion was made available internationally. There is a need for action here in the future if you do not want to jeopardize your success. (fr)

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