FACTBOX: Africa the worst hit by AIDS, by far

Tue Feb 10, 2009 9:54am EST

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(Reuters) - World leaders must not let the global financial crisis distract them from fighting HIV/AIDS, the United Nations' top AIDS official said on Tuesday.

Following are some key details about AIDS in Africa, the region most affected by the pandemic:

* SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA:

-- Sub-Saharan Africa remains the region most heavily affected by HIV, accounting for more than two thirds of all people living with HIV globally.

-- Of the global total of 2.1 million adult and child deaths due to AIDS in 2007, 1.6 million occurred in sub-Saharan Africa.

-- An estimated 1.7 million people were newly infected with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa in 2007, declining from 2.2 million new infections in 2001. There are currently an estimated 22.5 million people living with HIV in the region.

* SOUTH AFRICA:

-- South Africa, with some 5.7 million people infected with HIV, represents the world's largest AIDS epidemic.

-- HIV prevalence in adults aged 15 to 49 is 18 percent.

-- An estimated 500,000 people are infected each year and around 1,000 die every day from AIDS-related illnesses.

-- Reflecting similar trends from other countries in the region, young women in South Africa face greater risks of becoming infected than men: among 15 to 24-year-olds, they account for around 90 percent of new HIV infections.

* IN THE REGION:

-- National adult HIV prevalence exceeded 15 percent in Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe in 2005.

-- In Swaziland, approximately one in four adults are infected with HIV.

-- In Mozambique, the epidemic continues to grow; in some provinces in the central and southern zones of the country, adult HIV prevalence has reached or exceeded 20 percent, while infections continue to increase among young people aged 15-21.

-- Most of the smaller HIV epidemics in West Africa are stable or are declining, as is the case for Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Mali, and Nigeria.

-- HIV in the smaller epidemics in East Africa has either stabilized or is receding. After dropping dramatically in the 1990s, Uganda's adult HIV prevalence appears to have stabilized at 5.4 percent.

* THE GLOBAL PICTURE:

-- Some 33 million people were living with immunodeficiency virus infections in 2007, according to the United Nations report on the AIDS epidemic. As many as 2.7 million people were newly infected with HIV in 2007. Global deaths from AIDS reached an estimated 2.1 million in 2007.

-- In Asia, an estimated 4.9 million people were living with HIV in 2007. There were 1.6 million people living with HIV in Eastern Europe and Central Asia in 2007, 1.6 million in Latin America, and 2.1 million in North America, Western and Central Europe put together.

Sources: Reuters/UNAIDS/www.unaids.org/

(Writing by David Cutler, Additional writing by Jijo Jacob; London Editorial Reference Unit;)

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