Fighting AIDS Continuing decline: Survival rate improves thanks to potent new drugs, but a cure still must be found.

October 24, 1998

THE STEEP decline, nearly 50 percent, in deaths from AIDS is a cause for joy -- mixed with deep concern.

Credit goes to potent new drugs, which lowered the disease to the 14th leading cause of death last year, from eighth in 1996. Once the leading cause of death of people ages 25 to 44, AIDS now ranks fifth for that age group.

But the drugs are not a cure. New infections remain stable at 40,000 annually, causing fears that with longer lives, deaths will rise again, possibly to past levels.

The battle must go on, not only for the sake of Americans, but for victims worldwide, especially in Africa, where a whole generation faces this ominous health threat.

Pub Date: 10/24/98

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