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Health Highlights: July 18, 2012

8 Million People Worldwide Have Access to HIV Drugs Annual Report Ranks Mass. General as Top Hospital in U.S.

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

8 Million People Worldwide Have Access to HIV Drugs

More than eight million HIV-positive people worldwide are now receiving antiretroviral drugs to treat the infection, UNAIDS said Wednesday. HIV is the virus that causes AIDS.

The agency said that 54 percent of the estimated 14.8 million people worldwide who require antiretroviral drugs now have access to them, Agence France-Presse reported.

In 2010, 6.6 million people had access to the drugs.

UNAIDS said this success "puts the international community on track to reach the goal of 15 million people with HIV receiving treatment by 2015," a goal unanimously agreed by UN member states.

The figures were released in Washington in advance of the International AIDS Conference next week, AFP reported.


Annual Report Ranks Mass. General as Top Hospital in U.S.

Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston knocked off long-time champion Johns Hopkins in Baltimore to take this year's title as top hospital in the United States.

Hopkins was first for 21 consecutive years in the annual rankings by U.S. News and World Report, the Associated Press said.

The first-place ranking is a "tribute to the more than 23,000" staff at MGH, hospital president Dr. Peter Slavin said. The competition was not with other hospitals, but rather with "disease, health care costs, accessibility of services, and social issues," Dr. David Torchiana, chairman of the Massachusetts General Physicians Organization, said.

MGH is a 950-bed facility that admits about 48,000 patients a year and delivers about 3,600 babies annually. The hospital was founded in 1811, the AP reported.


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