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Number of Americans Living with H.I.V. Estimated Above 1 Million

I’m Gwen Outen with the VOA Special English Health Report.

There are new estimates of the number of Americans with the virus that causes AIDS. Government researchers say more than one million were living with H.I.V. at the end of two thousand three. Health officials gave a report on June thirteenth at the National H.I.V. Prevention Conference in Atlanta, Georgia.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention set a goal in two thousand one to cut the rate of new infections in half. That goal has not been met. But a C.D.C. official, Doctor Ronald Valdiserri, said researchers do think they are making progress.

Doctor Carlos del Rio of Emory University in Atlanta, however, suggested that prevention efforts have failed. He says there may be as many as sixty thousand new cases per year. In recent years, the number has been estimated at forty thousand.

Almost half of those infected are believed to be men who have sex with other men. And, researchers say, almost half are black.

People who are infected with H.I.V. often do not know it. There are no cures. But drug treatments can delay the progress of H.I.V. into AIDS. AIDS leaves a person defenseless against disease.

One of the Millennium Development Goals of the United Nations is to halt the spread of H.I.V. by two thousand fifteen. Earlier this year, Secretary-General Kofi Annan noted progress by some countries. But he also noted that there were more new infections and more AIDS-related deaths last year than ever before.

Mister Annan said treatment and prevention efforts were "nowhere near enough." He said only twelve percent of the people in need of treatments in low- and middle-income countries were receiving them.

Researchers estimate that about forty million people worldwide are living with H.I.V. They estimate that every day more than eight thousand people die from AIDS-related conditions.

About half of all people living with H.I.V. are women. And about half of new infections are in young adults.

Southern Africa is the area hardest hit by H.I.V. and AIDS.

The United States says it continues to support treatment for more people than any other giver in the world. The President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief supports treatment programs in fifteen countries in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean. The goal is to help two million people by the end of two thousand eight.

This VOA Special English Health Report was written by Cynthia Kirk. Our reports are on the Web at I'm Gwen Outen.