HIV/AIDS continues to devastate the WHO Africa Region, which has 11% of the world's population but 60% of the people with HIV/AIDS. Although HIV/AIDS remains the leading cause of death for adults, more and more people are receiving life-saving treatment. The number of HIV-positive people on antiretroviral medicines increased eight-fold, from 100 000 in December 2003 to 810 000 in December 2005.
More than 90% of the estimated 300–500 malaria cases that occur worldwide every year are in Africans, mainly in children under five years of age, but most countries are moving towards better treatment policies. Of the 42 malaria-endemic countries in the African Region, 33 have adopted artemisinin-based combination therapy—the most effective antimalarial medicines available today—as first-line treatment.
River blindness has been eliminated as a public health problem, and guinea worm control efforts have resulted in a 97% reduction in cases since 1986. Leprosy is close to elimination—meaning there is less than one case per 10 000 people in the Region.
Most countries are making good progress on preventable childhood illness. Polio is close to eradication, and 37 countries are reaching 60% or more of their children with measles immunization. Overall measles deaths have declined by more than 50% since 1999. In 2005 alone 75 million children received measles vaccines.
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