HIV/AIDS in numbers as remission case raises hopes of a cure

by Darnell Christie and Grace Robinson | Thomson Reuters Foundation
Tuesday, 7 July 2020 13:49 GMT

ARCHIVE PHOTO: A woman holds her child next to an AIDS ribbon during a ceremony marking the eve of World AIDS Day in front of the Panathinian marble stadium in central Athens November 30, 2007. REUTERS/Yannis Behrakis

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Here are the facts about HIV/AIDS as a Brazilian man becomes the first person with HIV to go into long-term remission without a stem-cell transplant

By Darnell Christie and Grace Robinson

LONDON, July 7 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - The announcement that a Brazilian man has become the first person to go into long-term remission from HIV after taking an intensified multi-drug cocktail of AIDS medicines has raised hopes of a future cure.

His is thought to be the first case of long-term HIV remission that did not result from bone marrow transplants.

Here are some facts on HIV/AIDS:

. About 38m people were living with HIV at the end of 2019. Two out of three were using anti-retroviral therapy, which prevents the virus from developing into AIDS.

. About 690,000 people died of complications related to AIDS in 2019, compared with 770,000 the year before.

. Timothy Ray Brown, known as the "Berlin patient", was the first person to be cured of HIV in 2007 after receiving a bone marrow transplant from a donor with a rare genetic mutation that makes carriers resistant to HIV.

. In March 2019, Adam Castillejo, known as the "London patient" was the second known adult worldwide to be "functionally cured" of HIV. He too received a bone marrow transplant.

. Between 2000 and 2018, new HIV infections fell 39%, while AIDS-related deaths fell by more than half.

. In 2019, 1.7m people were newly infected with HIV. The three countries that reported the most new infections the previous year were South Africa, with 240,000 new cases, Mozambique and Nigeria.

. More than two-thirds of people who are HIV-positive live in 47 African countries, with 7.7m people in South Africa in 2018, followed by Mozambique with 2.2m and Nigeria with 1.9m.

. While, at the end of 2019, an estimated 81% of people living with HIV knew they had the virus, in Britain, it is thought about 7,500 people in Britain were as yet undiagnosed.

. Since the first cases of AIDS were reported in 1981 among gay men in Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York, about 32.7m people have died of complications related to AIDS.

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SOURCES: World Health Organization, UN AIDS, Terrence Higgins Trust, Reuters

(Reporting by Darnell Christie and Grace Robinson; Editing by Rachel Savage and Claire Cozens. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers the lives of people around the world who struggle to live freely or fairly. Visit http://news.trust.org)

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