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South African AIDS death rate falls by a third: UN report

Xinhua | Updated: 2014-01-17 21:38

JOHANNESBURG - The number of the AIDS deaths had decreased by nearly 30 percent in South Africa since 2004, said a UN official in a report.

The death toll was down from 330,000 in 2004 to 240,000 in 2012, said the Joint UN Program on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS) country coordinator for South Africa Catherine Sozi as addressing the pandemic in the southeastern port city of Durban.

The number of the HIV-infected people had also been down in South Africa, according Catherine Sozi.

"Between 2004 and 2012, the number of new HIV infections fell from an estimated 540,000 to 370,000," said the coordinator.

"The general message is that it is good news," said the UN official.

She explained that the figures were compiled from varied sources like the census and surveys in 2012.

South Africa is supposed to have more people with HIV/AIDS than any other country in the world, with an estimated 280,000 people dying of HIV/AIDS in 2010.

As the largest economy in Africa, South Africa is home to more than 53 million people.

It was believed that the great success in reducing the AIDS deaths and HIV-infections should be attributed to the South African government's efforts in fighting the HIV/AIDS.

"The South African government's increased roll-out of the antiretroviral (ARV) therapy program had averted an estimated 780,000 deaths between 2004 and 2012," said the coordinator.

Approximately 2.7 million people infected with HIV/AIDS are currently receiving ARV drugs in South Africa, making it the largest ARV program to save HIV/AIDS people in the world.

Catherine Sozi was optimistic over the effect in curbing South African HIV/AIDS in the coming years, predicting the death number of the AIDS will fall to below 150,000 in 2016.

South African Minister of Health Aaron Motsoaledi said on Friday that his department hoped that people with HIV/AIDS to receive ARVs could reach 4.6 million by 2016, stressing it will be very important for every South African to be tested for HIV/AIDS at least once a year.

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