Report: 7,000 infected with AIDS per day

Zachary Roth

As the world marks the thirtieth anniversary of AIDS this year, the scope of the global AIDS epidemic is a grim reminder that for all the progress made in the fight against the disease there's still a long way to go.

Every day, about 7,000 people are infected with AIDS, a recent UN report has found. And about half of AIDS victims don't know they have the disease.

About 34 million people were living with AIDS at the end of last year. And since June 1981--when scientists first described the disease that came to be known as Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome--about 30 million have died from it.

The report, released by the UNAIDS Agency, does make note of one bright spot: The rate of infections has declined.

The report also said that the world had made "dramatic gains" in getting poor countries access to AIDS drugs--a key development in slowing the disease's progress. Since 2001, the number of people in low- and middle-income countries with access to the drugs has risen 22-fold.

And in the same period, resources devoted to treating the disease in poorer countries spiked from $1.6 billion a year to $15.9 billion.

But since the global downturn triggered by the 2008 financial crisis, many rich countries have cut back on funding AIDS treatment abroad.

"The number of people becoming infected and dying is decreasing, but the international resources needed to sustain this progress have declined for the first time in 10 years, despite tremendous unmet needs," UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon wrote in the report.

"We have a long way to go to prevent new HIV infections, end discrimination and scale up treatment, care and support," he added.

(A giant red ribbon, atop Twin Peaks in San Francisco, marks the 30th anniversary of the first reported cases of AIDS: Ben Margot/AP)