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Aids deaths drop dramatically

The number of people who have died from Aids in Switzerland has dramatically decreased while new cases of infection in Europe are rising.

A United Nations report on Aids released on Tuesday found that 50 people in Switzerland died of complications related to HIV infections in 2008. In 1995 it was 600 people.

Antiviral drugs have helped people live longer with the disease.

New rates of infection are dropping in Switzerland among drug users who share needles. At the end of the 1980s, such users accounted for the majority of new infections. In 2008 they represented less than four per cent of new cases, the report said.

In western and central Europe, about 30,000 people became infected by the virus in 2008, nearly double as many as in 2000. About 13,000 people died from the disease last year in the region.

Homosexuals are still among the most affected. The rate of new infections among gays in Europe climbed 39 per cent between 2003 and 2007, the report said.

Sub-Saharan Africa remains the most heavily affected area of the planet. About 22.4 million people, or 67 per cent of all HIV-positive people, live with the disease there.

Since the beginning of the pandemic in the early 1980s almost 60 million people have been infected with HIV. About 25 million of them have died.

swissinfo.ch and agencies


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