HIV :: 40 million HIV/AIDS cases – UN update

Some 2.9 million people have died this year from AIDS-related illnesses, and 4.3 more million were infected with HIV, according to the U.N.’s AIDS epidemic update report. The disease’s spread was most notable in East Asia, eastern Europe and Central Asia.

According to the joint report by UNAIDS and the World Health Organization, young people between 15 and 24 account for 40 percent of new infections worldwide.

Sub-Saharan Africa still bears the highest burden, with 63 percent of the world’s infected people, or 24.7 million.

The proportion of infected women is particularly striking in sub-Saharan Africa, where they account for 59 percent of HIV/AIDS cases.

Also the high infection rates among teenage girls in some African countries are due to older men having sex with girls. Male infidelity is also thought to account for the increasing HIV incidence among married African women.

The United States — for which figures were available for 2005 only — had 1.2 million people living with HIV last year. It therefore ranks among the top 10 countries in terms of the number of infected people. About 40,000 people are newly infected every year in the United States.

Almost 8 million of the world’s people with HIV/AIDS live in South and Southeast Asia.

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