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UN: AIDS-Related Deaths Decline Worldwide, Rise In Eastern Europe, Central Asia

People who inject drugs accounted for nearly half of new HIV infections in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, according to a new report. (file photo)

AIDS claimed the lives of 1 million people in 2016, a decline of nearly 50 percent from the 2005 toll that marked the peak of the deadly epidemic, the United Nations said in a report issued on July 20.

But AIDS-related deaths have increased in Eastern Europe and Central Asia and in the Middle East and North Africa, according to the report by the UNAIDS agency.

Worldwide, "AIDS-related deaths have fallen from 1.9 million in 2005 to one million in 2016," the report said, adding that "for the first time the scales have tipped."

In addition, the share of people with HIV who have access to medical treatment has risen above 50 per cent for the first time, according to data in the report.

"In 2016, 19.5 million of the 36.7 million people living with HIV had access to treatment," the UNAIDS report said.

The report said most progress has been made in eastern and southern Africa, the region that was hardest hit by the epidemic.

"Communities and families are thriving as AIDS is being pushed back," said UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé. "As we bring the epidemic under control, health outcomes are improving and nations are becoming stronger."

However, the report said that AIDS-related deaths have risen by 48 percent in the Middle East and North Africa and by 38 percent in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. It did not specify a time period.

People who inject drugs accounted for 42 percent of new HIV infections in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, the report said.

In Russia, newly reported cases of HIV increased by 75 percent between 2010 and 2016.

Based on reporting by AFP, AP and DPA
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