A UN r eport issued yesterday said an estimated 33.2 million people in the world are infected by the HIV disease as of December, 2007. However, the UN report believes “the annual rate of new HIV infections appears to have decreased over the last decade.” The report believes there is increasing evidence “progress in containing the HIV epidemic is now being seen in nearly all regions of the world” which it attributes to heavy investment in new drugs and treatment programs. In 2007, about 2.5 million people were newly infected which is down from 3.2 million n 1998 and the annual rate of AIDS deaths has declined from 3.9 m ilion in 2001 to 2.1 million in 2007.
There is no doubt progress is being made in combating the debilitating effects of HIV in the world. But, there is much more needed in the way of low cost drugs for people in low income nations and preventive care to ensure people do not get infected. The disastrous Bush policy of refusing to support condom use programs is illustrative of how ignorance and bigotry lead to the deaths of millions of people.