Crucial point reached in reducing deaths from AIDS

Campaigners on Monday, World Aids Day said that for the first time in its history, the annual number of new HIV infections is lower than the number of HIV-positive people being added to those receiving treatment.

They noted that this means a crucial tipping point has been reached in reducing deaths from AIDS.

It comes as a study of more than 2,000 women in Africa showed that the HIV virus is slowing its ability to cause Aids.

Scientists at Oxford University have said that research suggests a less virulent HIV could be one of several factors contributing to a turning of the deadly pandemic.

“Overall we are bringing down the ability of HIV to cause AIDS so quickly,” Philip Goulder, a professor at Oxford University who led the study, told Reuters news agency.

“But it would be overstating it to say HIV has lost its potency – it’s still a virus you wouldn’t want to have.”

The research team studied cases in Botswana and South Africa – two countries badly hit by AIDS.

First the research team looked at whether the interaction between the body’s natural immune response and HIV leads to the virus becoming less virulent or able to cause disease.

Credit: Reuters