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254,078 AIDS CASES

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The number of AIDS cases reported worldwide reached 254,078 during April, and the United States accounted for less than half of the total for the first time since a global count began in 1980, the World Health Organization said Friday.

WHO said the number of reported AIDS cases rose by 16,968, or 7.16 percent, during April to a total of 254,078. American cases rose 1,845 during April to 126,127, or 49.64 percent of the known cases of AIDS worldwide.It was the first time the United States accounted for fewer than half of the world cases of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome since counting began in 1980.

Until early last year, U.S. cases represented as much as two-thirds of the total, but the proportion has steadily fallen each month because of improved reporting by developing countries, especially in Africa.