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Quickfacts – HIV/AIDS in numbers as remission case raises hopes of a cure

London, UK
Thomson Reuters Foundation

The announcement that a Brazilian man has become the first person to go into long-term remission from HIV after taking an intensified multi-drug cocktail of AIDS medicines has raised hopes of a future cure.

His is thought to be the first case of long-term HIV remission that did not result from bone marrow transplants.

AIDS commemoration Greece

A woman holds her child next to an AIDS ribbon during a ceremony marking the eve of World AIDS Day in front of the Panathinian marble stadium in central Athens on 30th November, 2007. PICTURE: Reuters/Yannis Behrakis/File photo.

Here are some facts on HIV/AIDS:

• About 38 million people were living with HIV at the end of 2019. Two out of three were using anti-retroviral therapy, which prevents the virus from developing into AIDS.

• About 690,000 people died of complications related to AIDS in 2019, compared with 770,000 the year before.

• Timothy Ray Brown, known as the “Berlin patient”, was the first person to be cured of HIV in 2007 after receiving a bone marrow transplant from a donor with a rare genetic mutation that makes carriers resistant to HIV.

• In March, 2019, Adam Castillejo, known as the “London patient” was the second known adult worldwide to be “functionally cured” of HIV. He too received a bone marrow transplant.

• Between 2000 and 2018, new HIV infections fell 39 per cent, while AIDS-related deaths fell by more than half.

• In 2019, 1.7 million people were newly infected with HIV. The three countries that reported the most new infections the previous year were South Africa, with 240,000 new cases, Mozambique and Nigeria.

• More than two-thirds of people who are HIV-positive live in 47 African countries, with 7.7 million people in South Africa in 2018, followed by Mozambique with 2.2 million and Nigeria with 1.9 million.

• While, at the end of 2019, an estimated 81% of people living with HIV knew they had the virus, in Britain, it is thought about 7,500 people in Britain were as yet undiagnosed.

• Since the first cases of AIDS were reported in 1981 among gay men in Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York, about 32.7 million people have died of complications related to AIDS.

Sources: World Health Organization, UN AIDS, Terrence Higgins Trust, Reuters


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