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A blueprint for an AIDS-free generation has just been unveiled. But how close are we really? From Hong Kong to Nairobi, from Brussels to Brazil — GlobalPost sheds light on the state of AIDS and HIV worldwide in this in-depth series.

HIV infection rates 2012 11-20
Volunteer Nobathembu Mbembe reacts as Dr. Camilla Samways (R), injects the African produced HIV vaccine at the iEmavundleni Centre, in Cape Town, South Africa, on July 28, 2009. (RODGER BOSCH/AFP/Getty Images)

HIV infection rates fall 50 percent in 25 nations, report says

New HIV infection rates are falling in sub-Saharan countries in Africa the most, World AIDS Day report says.

The rate of new HIV infections is down 50 percent in 25 nations in a dramatic sign of progess against the AIDS epidemic.

There were 700,000 fewer new infections last year than in 2001, according to a new World AIDS Day report by the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS).

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More than half of the countries reporting drops are in sub-Saharan Africa, which has some of the highest HIV rates in the world.

"The pace of progress is quickening. What used to take a decade is now being achieved in 24 months,” Michel Sidibé, the executive director of UNAIDS, told the UN News Service.  "We are scaling up faster and smarter than ever before.

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"It is the proof that with political will and follow-through, we can reach our shared goals by 2015."

AIDS-related deaths fell by more than 25 percent worldwide over the last six years, while the number of people getting treatment is up 63 percent, CNN reported.

Better access to treatment is the primary reason behind the slowed HIV/AIDS progression.

Some 34 million people were living with HIV at the end of 2011, while 2.5 million new infections were reported and 1.7 million people died, according to Reuters.

World AIDS Day is Dec. 1.