The number of new HIV infections—and deaths as a result of AIDS—are decreasing globally, new statistics from the UN show. Stigma and discrimination continue to be a problem for the roughly 33 million people in the world with HIV, but there are signs the epidemic is declining: last year there were 2.6 million new HIV infections, down almost 20 per cent since the peak of the epidemic in 1999. And in 2009, 1.8 million died from AIDS-related illnesses, a drop from 2.1 million in 2004. Meanwhile, AIDS researchers have found that taking a daily antiretroviral pill greatly reduces the chances of becoming infected with the virus, the New York Times reports. In an article published in the New England Journal of Medicine, they reported on a study of hundreds of gay men randomly assigned to take drugs, and found they were 44 per cent less likely to get infected than the equal number who took a placebo. Looking at the men who took their pill faithfully every day, the pill was more than 90 per cent effective. Observers call it the best news in the AIDS field in years.