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AIDS Epidemic Worsens in Southern Africa

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AIDS Epidemic Worsens in Southern Africa

Global Health

AIDS Epidemic Worsens in Southern Africa

AIDS Epidemic Worsens in Southern Africa

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/5021862/5021887" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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Some 40 million people are estimated to be living with HIV worldwide. (Numbers in parentheses represent the range of estimates). UNAIDS hide caption

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UNAIDS

Some 40 million people are estimated to be living with HIV worldwide. (Numbers in parentheses represent the range of estimates).

UNAIDS

The global HIV epidemic continues to expand, with more than 40 million people now estimated to have the AIDS virus, up 2 million since 2004. But in some countries prevention efforts are finally starting to pay off, the United Nations and World Health Organization say in a new report.

Read the Report

'AIDS Epidemic Update 2005' is the latest annual report by the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

HIV continues to spread at an alarming rate in southern Africa, where more than 30 percent of the pregnant women who came to clinics tested positive for the virus.

The number of people with HIV increased in every region of the world except the Caribbean. That includes the United States and Europe, where rates of infection were up among women and gay men. Dr. Jim Kim, the director of the World Health Organization's AIDS division says the most worrisome news came from southern Africa.

In Swaziland, for example, 43 percent of the pregnant women who visited clinics tested positive for HIV. "These are just horrendous, horrific numbers," Kim says.

The report says AIDS continues to grow at an alarming rate in South Africa, with 29.5 percent of women attending prenatal clinics testing positive in 2004. That country's epidemic, "one of the largest in the world, shows no sign of relenting," the report says.

There were bright spots in the report. Kenya, Uganda and Zimbabwe showed a decline in overall rates of infection last year. Surveys show that in Zimbabwe people are limiting the number of partners and using condoms, says George Lott, an epidemiologist for WHO.