For first time, half with HIV on AIDS drugs

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - INTERNATIONAL -

LON­DON — More than half of all those in­fected with HIV — for the first time in the global AIDS epi­demic that has spanned four decades and killed 35 mil­lion people — are on drugs to treat the virus, the United Na­tions said in a re­port re­leased Thurs­day.

AIDS deaths are also now close to half of what they were in 2005, ac­cord­ing to the U.N. AIDS agency, al­though those fig­ures are based on es­ti­mates and not ac­tual counts from coun­tries.

Ex­perts ap­plauded the progress but ques­tioned whether the bil­lions spent in the past two decades should have pro­duced more im­pres­sive re­sults. The U.N. re­port was re­leased in Paris, where an AIDS meet­ing be­gins this week­end.

“When you think about the money that’s been spent on AIDS, it could have been better,” said So­phie Har­man, a se­nior lec­turer in global health pol­i­tics at Queen Mary Univer­sity in Lon­don.

Ac­cord­ing to the re­port , about 19.5 mil­lion people with HIV were tak­ing AIDS drugs in 2016, com­pared with 17.1 mil­lion the pre­vi­ous year.

AP/PET­ROS GIANNAKOURIS

Pedes­tri­ans pass on the streets of the Plaka dis­trict of Athens on Thurs­day, with the Acrop­o­lis hill in the back­ground.

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