UNAIDS estimates that half the teenagers in some African countries will die of AIDS


A new report issued by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) estimates that the AIDS epidemic may kill up to half of the young adult population in African countries where the disease has the highest prevalence. The Report on the Global HIV/AIDS epidemic: June 2000 summarizes the current level of the AIDS epidemic worldwide at the start of the 21st century.

The figures for Africa are alarming and devastating effects on society are predicted. In addition to immediate health care problems, the epidemic threatens to destroy national development, increase inequalities between advantaged and less-advantaged members of the population, and have a negative impact on education. According to the report, South Africa has the largest number of people living with HIV/AIDS in the world, estimated at 4.2 million infected people. In 16 African countries, more than one tenth of the adult population is infected with the human immunodeficiency virus; in seven countries in southern Africa, at least 20% of the adult population is living with the virus.

Only in a few African countries are there signs of some progress. Uganda has brought its estimated prevalence rate down to around 8% from a peak close to 14% in the early 1990s with strong prevention campaigns. A large increase in condom usage has contributed to the lower rates of infection.

18.8 million people worldwide have died from AIDS since the beginning of the epidemic, 3.8 million of them children. About 34.3 million are estimated to be living with the virus. The report is available via the Internet at http://www.unaids.org/epidemic_update/index.html §


Barry Whyte, Bulletin

World Health Organization Genebra - Genebra - Switzerland
E-mail: bulletin@who.int