released joint report of the UNAIDS and WHO points out that there
has been steady increases in the number of people living with
HIV/AIDS, as well as in the number of AIDS deaths in several regions
of the world. The HIV/AIDS epidemic killed more than 3 million
people in 2003, and an estimated 5 million acquired the human
immunodeficiency virus (HIV) - bringing to 40 million the number
of people living with the virus around the world.
A number of
countries with the highest prevalence of the HIV/AIDS epidemic
are in the sub-Saharan Africa region, mostly in the least developed
countries. The LDCs that have been severly affected are: Angola,
Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad,
Dem. Rep. of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia,
Guinea-Bissau, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique,
Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Togo, Uganda, Tanzania and Zambia.
The report "AIDS epidemic update" stated that it is
due to the fact that high levels of new HIV infections are persisting
and are now matched by high levels of AIDS mortality. In the southern
African region, HIV prevalence is at an alarming high level in
the general population. In other sub-Saharan countries, the epidemic
has gained a firm foothold and shows little sign of weakening,
with exception of some positive indications from mostly urban
areas in a few countries in eastern Africa. The report notes that
the trend offers no comfort. Among Asian LDCs, the report noted
that Cambodia and Myanmar are also stricken with nationwide epidemics.
In the Latin American and Caribbean Region, Haiti is the most
seriously affected country.
The report further added that the global response has expanded
significantly in the past two-to-three years. Spending (domestic
and external) on HIV/AIDS programmes in low and middle-income
countries increased again in 2003, notably in sub-Saharan Africa.
However, these developments do not match the region's epidemics
in scale or pace.
for the entire report.