Photo credit: UNAIDS/Sattlberger

An elderly woman with her grandchildren in Kigali, Rwanda
So far, the AIDS epidemic has left behind more than 13 million orphans - children who, before the age of 15, lost either their mother or both parents to AIDS. It is often the extended family, usually grandparents, who care for children orphaned by AIDS.

A group of boys play in Czestochowa, Poland
Young people become sexually active earlier than most adults are prepared to recognize. Sex education has been shown to encourage a responsible attitude towards sex rather than early experimentation.

Photo credit: UNAIDS/Noorani

Street children sniffing glue in Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Drug users often switch rapidly from non-injecting drugs to injecting drugs, causing HIV levels to increase significantly. Injecting drug users are frequently the first people to be affected by HIV in most South and Southeast Asian countries. Some areas in the region report HIV prevalence rates of 80 percent or more among injecting drug users.

Photo credit: UNAIDS/Pirozzi

Testing for HIV/AIDS in a Ministry of Health laboratory in Amman, Jordan
Initial HIV vaccines are not expected to be 100 percent effective. Vaccine development is complicated not only by the range of virus subtypes circulating but by the wide variety of human populations who need protection, and who differ, for example, in their genetic make-up and their routes of exposure to HIV.

Photo credit: UNAIDS/Gubb

A woman bottle-feeds an infant at a home for women and children in Ethiopia
Mother-to-child transmission of HIV is the most significant source of HIV infection in children below the age of 10 years. There is continued concern that up to 20 percent of infants born to HIV-infected mothers may acquire HIV through breastfeeding, depending on duration and other risk factors.

Photo credit: UNAIDS/Taylor

Vienping Orphanage in Chiang Mai, Thailand, where a large percentage of children are HIV positive
So far, the AIDS epidemic has left behind more than 13 million orphans - children who, before the age of 15, lost either their mother or both parents to AIDS. Studies have shown that AIDS orphans are at greater risk of malnutrition, illness, abuse and sexual exploitation than children orphaned by other causes.

Photo credit: UNAIDS/Sattlberger

Young soldier with family members in Luena, Angola
Soldiers are at special risk of exposure to sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV. Most military personnel are in the age group of greatest risk of HIV infection - the sexually active 15-24 age group.

Photo credit: UNAIDS/Sattlberger

HIV positive mother with child in Guatemala City, Guatemala
The HIV virus may be transmitted from mother to child during pregnancy, labour, delivery, or after the child's birth during breastfeeding. Among infected infants who are not breastfed, about two-thirds of cases of mother-to-child transmission occur around the time of delivery and the rest during the pregnancy. In populations where breastfeeding is the norm, it accounts for more than one-third of all transmission.

Photo credit: UNAIDS/Neeleman

Injecting drug users in the Czech Republic
In Eastern Europe and Central Asia drug injecting is the main risk of HIV infection. Injection is an even more efficient way of spreading HIV than sexual intercourse. Since injecting drug users are often linked in tight networks and commonly share injecting equipment with other people without cleaning it, HIV can spread very rapidly in these populations.

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