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The Obama administration announced its National HIV / AIDS Strategy in July. The plan aims to reduce new HIV infections by twenty-five percent within five years. It also aims to make sure infected patients get treatment more quickly. HIV is the virus that causes AIDS. The government says sixty-five percent of Americans who discover they are infected get treatment within three months.

The new plan calls for increasing that to eighty-five percent. Thirty million dollars from the health care reform law is to go to support prevention activities, including expanded HIV testing. Over one million Americans are living with the virus, out of an estimated thirty-three million people worldwide. In July, government scientists in the United States announced the discovery of two antibodies that raise hopes for an AIDS vaccine. They say these antibodies can stop more than ninety percent of all known strains of HIV.

Antibodies are proteins that the body makes to help protect itself against infection. Researchers made the discovery at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. The director of its Vaccine Research Center, Gary Nabel, says each antibody blocks the virus from attaching to white blood cells. The antibodies were discovered in a man, known as Donor 45, whose body produced them naturally. Patients with HIV must take medicine all their lives to prevent AIDS.

Combinations of drugs are able to suppress the deadly virus in the body – if not a cure, then the next best thing. In another development, the United Nations reported that the number of young people becoming infected with HIV in Africa is falling. The UN AIDS agency gives credit to better use of preventive measures. It says young people in Africa are waiting longer to have sex. They are also having fewer sexual partners. And they are increasingly using condoms.

As a result, the agency says HIV rates are falling in sixteen of the twenty-five hardest-hit countries in Africa. The biggest drop was in Kenya, where the infection rate among fifteen to twenty-four-year-olds fell by a reported sixty percent. And that’s the VOA Special English Health Report. Tell us about prevention efforts in your community. You can comment on our website at voaspecialenglish.com or on Facebook at VOA Learning English.

Words in This Story

administration – n. a period of government, or the people who are in government

announce – v. to make something known or tell people about something officially

reform – n. an improvement, especially in a person’s behavior or in the structure of something

expand – v. to increase in size, number, or importance, or to make something increase in this way

antibody – n. a protein produced in the blood that fights diseases by attacking and killing harmful bacteria

institute – n. an organization where people do a particular type of scientific, educational, or social work, or the buildings that it uses

allergy – n. a condition that makes a person become sick or develop skin or breathing problems because they have eaten certain foods or been near certain substances

combination – n. the mixture you get when two or more things are combined

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