- GENEVA (AFP) - Nearly 5.5
million new cases of the HIV virus were recorded last year, bringing the
global number of those infected with HIV or full-blown AIDS to 34.3 million,
a new report published here Tuesday by the joint United Nations programme,
- "Barring a miracle most of these will die over the
next decade or so," the report noted. Some 2.8 million AIDS sufferers
died in 1999, while since the beginning of the epidemic 18.8 million have
- "Today it is clear that AIDS is a development crisis
and in some parts of the world is rapidly becoming a security crisis too,"
UNAIDS Executive Director Peter Piot said in the report.
- "AIDS is unique in its devastating impact on the
social, economic and demographic underpinnings of development," he
added, highlighting the consequences the disease would have on future infant,
child and maternal mortality rates, on life expectancy and economic growth.
- Some 24.5 million sufferers live in sub-Saharan Africa
where four million of the 5.4 million new infections were recorded in 1999.
- Back in 1991, estimates put the number of those in the
region expected to become infected with AIDS by the end of the decade at
nine million people and the number of those likely to die at five million.
- South Africa where 4.2 million people live with the HIV
infection is the country with the largest number of people with the disease
in the world.
- Meanwhile, Asia has a lower prevalence rate compared
to Africa. Prevalence is the ratio of infected people to the total adult
population. Infection among the 15 to 49-year-olds has only surpassed one
percent in three countries -- Cambodia, Myanmar and Thailand.
- In Indonesia, fewer than five out of 10,000 people live
with AIDS and in the Philippines the rate is seven for every 10,000.
- However, in some highly-populated countries even a weak
rate of prevalence of HIV means a huge number of people live with the disease.
India, for example, where seven of every 1,000 adults are infected gives
it 3.7 million infections in total, or the second highest after South Africa.
- In Latin America, the highest rates of infection are
in the Caribbean such as Haiti where five percent of the adult population
has HIV, or four percent in the Bahamas.
- Honduras, Guatemala and Belize are experiencing a rapidly
progressing epidemic spreading among heterosexuals, as is also the case
- UNAIDS highlights systematic testing of HIV in Latin
America is not very widespread among groups considered high risk such as
- In eastern Europe and central Asia, drug injection poses
a major risk for developing HIV. The same is true in rich countries which
are also seeing a high number of infections among the homosexual community.
- Following massive prevention campaigns in rich countries
the rate of infection fell between the middle and the end of the 1980s,
but picked up again in the late 1990s, UNAIDS said which publishes a report
every two years.
- The 2000 report comes ahead of an international conference
on AIDS taking place in Durban, South Africa between July 9 and 14.
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