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Aids victims on life-saving drug soar to 5.2m

The number of people taking crucial Aids drugs climbed by a record 1.2 million last year to 5.2 million, the World Health Organisation has said.

Between 2003 and 2010, the number of patients receiving lifesaving antiretroviral treatment increased 12-fold, according to the Geneva-based body.

"We are very encouraged by this increase. It is indeed the biggest increase that we have seen in any single year," said director Gottfried Hirnschall.

Hirnschal recently said the jump was due to improved access to treatment. However, he noted that progress has been more significant in sub-Saharan Africa than elsewhere.

"That's obviously where the greatest need in terms of numbers is, but that's really where we have seen the most impressive scale-up in terms of treatment access," Hirnschall said.

Complete statistics on the global situation will be released in a report in September.