Number of People Worldwide Living With HIV/AIDS Increases in All Regions; Nearly 40 Million People Have Virus, UNAIDS/WHO Report Says
November 21, 2006
The number of people living with HIV/AIDS over the past two years has increased and the worldwide total now stands at nearly 40 million, according to a report released on Tuesday by UNAIDS and the World Health Organization, Reuters UK reports. The report, titled "AIDS Epidemic Update: December 2006," estimates that 4.3 million new HIV infections occurred worldwide this year and that about 2.9 million people died of AIDS-related illnesses. The report compared adjusted figures from 2004 rather than from 2005 because of changes in methodology and data (Nebehay, Reuters UK, 11/21). According to the report, 40% of new infections among people age 15 and older occurred among young people ages 15 to 24 (Baert, AFP/Yahoo! News, 11/21). In addition, there were 2.8 million new HIV infections in Africa in 2006, and 2.1 million people on the continent died of AIDS-related illnesses, the report said (Reuters, 11/21). The most evident increases in HIV incidence occurred in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, with a nearly 70% increase in new infections over the past two years, according to the report (BBC News, 11/21). The number of new HIV infections in South and Southeast Asia increased by 15% since 2004, and the number of new infections in North Africa and the Middle East since 2004 increased by 12%, according to the report. The number of new HIV infections in Latin America and the Caribbean and North America remained stable. In addition, the number of HIV-positive women worldwide has reached 17.7 million, an increase of more than one million over the past two years, the report said. In sub-Saharan Africa, women account for 59% of people living with HIV/AIDS (Engeler, AP/Kansas City Star, 11/21).
Asia, Eastern Europe
HIV Prevention Programs
According to new data from the report, HIV prevention programs are effective when they are focused, sustained and adapted to address the most vulnerable groups. The report cites examples in China of programs aimed at sex workers that have led to significant increases in condom use and declines in sexually transmitted infections. In addition, Botswana, Burundi, Côte d'Ivoire, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, Tanzania and Zimbabwe have seen increased condom use, sexual debut delay and decreased number of sexual partners among young people. "We need to greatly intensify life-saving prevention efforts while we expand HIV treatment programs," UNAIDS Executive Director Peter Piot said. The report also highlighted that many people do not believe they are at risk of becoming infected, even in countries with high HIV prevalence, including South Africa and Swaziland (UNAIDS/WHO release, 11/21).
The Kaiser Family Foundation's Jackie Judd spoke with Paul De Lay, UNAIDS director of monitoring and evaluation, about the report. The interview can be found here.
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This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.