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Millions of HIV/AIDS Patients Don't Have Access to Drugs

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Only 31 percent of people with HIV/AIDs in low- and middle-income countries had access to antiretroviral drugs in 2007, which means that millions aren't receiving the potentially lifesaving treatment, says a new report from the World Health Organization, UNAIDS and UNICEF.

In 2007, about 950,000 more people received antiretroviral therapy (ART) than in 2006, but the agencies said they're two years behind their target. They aimed to have three million people on ART by the end of 2005, but, by the end of 2007, they were just short of that goal. That means that about 6.7 million people aren't receiving ART, BBC News reported.

There was significant progress made in certain areas. For example, the number of HIV-infected pregnant women who received ART increased from 350,000 in 2006 to 500,000 in 2007. The treatment prevents the women from passing HIV to their children.

There also were significant improvements in the availability of HIV testing and counseling services, and male circumcision (which reduces the risk of HIV transmission during sex) is now more effectively promoted in regions of sub-Saharan Africa heavily affected by HIV/AIDs, BBC News reported.

At the end of 2007, about 33.2 million people worldwide were living with HIV, including 2.5 million who were newly infected that year, said the WHO document.

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