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Richard Hannaford reports for BBC News
"AIDs is now the biggest killer in the world"
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Tuesday, 23 November, 1999, 08:45 GMT
UN to forecast HIV rise
An HIV vaccine under test in Thailand

Estimates of the number of HIV infections worldwide are expected to show an increasing numbers of victims in developing countries.

The AIDS Epidemic update, compiled jointly by the United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and the World Health Organisation, is to be released on Tuesday.

It is thought that while it will show a continuing low rate of new infections in the developed world, it will confirm the enormous toll the disease is taking on developing nations, particularly in Africa, and more recently, Asia.

Figures for 1998 showed that an estimated 2.2 million people died from Aids related illnesses worldwide.

The disease is now the fourth leading cause of death in the world, and is thought to have infected more than 47 million people.

More than 19 out of 20 HIV cases, and Aids deaths happen in the developing world.

Rise in infections

Last year's Aids Epidemic Update suggested that more than 30m were living with the HIV virus worldwide - a rise of 10% over the previous year.

This means than 11 men, women or children were infected per minute.

Sub Saharan Africa is still the worst affected region in the world, with more than 70% of HIV infections taking place there.

Countries such as Botswana, Namibia, and Zimbabwe are particularly hard hit.

However, experts are warning that the biggest rate of increase is in Asia.

India and China are thought to be two of the nations most vulnerable to the spread of the disease, even though infections are relatively low at the moment.

In contrast to sub-Saharan Africa's 22 million plus HIV cases, there are approximately 500,000 infected men, women and children in Western Europe.

The easier access to modern drugs, and huge sex education drives have limited sexual transmission, and mothers passing the virus on to their babies
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See also:
07 Nov 99 |  Aids
Experts tackling Asian AIDS explosion
08 Nov 99 |  Aids
Experts fight back against HIV threat
28 Apr 99 |  Aids
Aids row in South Africa
08 Jul 99 |  Aids
Aids worldwide

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