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‘AIDS clock’ ticks to represent pandemic's toll

UN agency’s ‘AIDS clock’ ticks to represent pandemic’s toll

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has relaunched its AIDS Clock, an exhibit that has been counting the relentless toll of the epidemic since 1997.

“The AIDS Clock reminds us of how pressing our work is,” said UNFPA Executive Director Thoraya Ahmed Obaid. “The clock ticks louder as the number of people living with HIV increases. Behind each number is a face, a family and a circle of loved ones who are also affected.”

When UNFPA first unveiled the AIDS Clock just under a decade ago, it registered some 24 million people living with HIV. In the intervening period, most of those people have died, and millions more have become infected.

In 1999, UNFPA launched the AIDS Clock as a web-based exhibit, and has recently revised and expanded its reach in a bid to symbolize the epidemic’s scale and the urgent response it demands.

“Our goal is to slow down, and eventually turn back the AIDS Clock,” said the UNFPA chief. “Preventing HIV is the key.”

More than 65 million people have been infected with HIV since AIDS was first detected 25 years ago. More than 25 million people have died, and an estimated 40.3 million people are now living with HIV.

In addition to showing an estimate of the people living with HIV, the clock links to regional figures, fact sheets and epidemiology trends, based on information provided by the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS). It also provides links to some of the major campaigns that work to spread awareness of the issue and mobilize effective responses.

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