Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov

Number of HIV-infected people continues to grow as AIDS kills 2 million in 2007

About 2.5 million people became infected with HIV-AIDS in 2007. Over two million people died of the incurable disease last year, Ban Ki-Moon, the Secretary General of the United Nations said. He stressed out that almost 70 percent of all HIV-positive people still have no access to the retroviral therapy.

“This situation is unacceptable. The world will fall short of achieving universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support in the absence of a significant increase in the level of resources available for HIV programs in low- and middle-income countries,” he said to the UN General Assembly at a High-Level Meeting on AIDS in New York.

The report from Ban Ki-Moon said that the number of HIV-infected people all over the world totals 33.2 million as of December 2007. AIDS has already killed 25 million people, Interfax reports with reference to the UN news service.

The UN Secretary General pointed out that the world starts to feel the output from the unexampled amount of funds invested in the struggle against HIV epidemic during the current decade.

Ban Ki-Moon also set out his regret about the fact that the number of HIV-positive individuals continues to grow in several countries. The list includes Russia, Ukraine, China and the USA.

The UN Secretary General urged the leaders of all countries of the world to take necessary measures to struggle against the discrimination of HIV-positive people.

In Russia, the number of identifiable HIV-infected individuals has dropped from 80,000 in 2001 to about 40,000 in 2007.

Russia’s Surgeon General, Gennady Onischenko stated that the efforts which Russia takes to struggle against the AIDS pandemic are insufficient as long as the nation has so many infected citizens. “The fact that the majority of the infected are young people aged 18 to 25 is especially tragic,” he said.

AIDS was first reported June 5, 1981, when the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recorded a cluster of Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (now still classified as PCP but known to be caused by Pneumocystis jirovecii) in five homosexual men in Los Angeles. In the beginning, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) did not have an official name for the disease, often referring to it by way of the diseases that were associated with it, for example, lymphadenopathy, the disease after which the discoverers of HIV originally named the virus. They also used Kaposi's Sarcoma and Opportunistic Infections, the name by which a task force had been set up in 1981. In the general press, the term GRID, which stood for Gay-related immune deficiency, had been coined. However, after determining that AIDS was not isolated to the homosexual community, the term GRID became misleading and AIDS was introduced at a meeting in July 1982. By September 1982 the CDC started using the name AIDS, and properly defined the illness.

A more controversial theory known as the OPV AIDS hypothesis suggests that the AIDS epidemic was inadvertently started in the late 1950s in the Belgian Congo by Hilary Koprowski's research into a poliomyelitis vaccine. According to scientific consensus, this scenario is not supported by the available evidence.

A recent study states that HIV probably moved from Africa to Haiti and then entered the United States around 1969.

As new treatments continue to be developed and because HIV continues to evolve resistance to treatments, estimates of survival time are likely to continue to change. Without antiretroviral therapy, death normally occurs within a year. Most patients die from opportunistic infections or malignancies associated with the progressive failure of the immune system. The rate of clinical disease progression varies widely between individuals and has been shown to be affected by many factors such as host susceptibility and immune function health care and co-infections, as well as which particular strain of the virus is involved.

Source: agencies