Several trends emerged in 2002: infections among
women are rising, a food crisis is compounding the epidemic
in Southern Africa, and the epidemic is gaining speed in other
Globally, 5 million people were newly infected in 2002—about
14,000 each day. Stopping new infections requires the kind
of action that UNFPA supports.
42 million people are living with HIV/AIDS, and 90 per cent
do not know that they carry the virus.
Of the 5 million new infections in 2002, more than 95 per
cent occurred in developing countries and almost half of new
infections in adults occurred among women.
Nearly half of new infections occur among young people aged
15 to 24, who now make up one third of those living with HIV/AIDS.
In 2002, AIDS claimed 3.1 million lives. It is the leading
cause of death in sub-Saharan Africa, and the fourth-biggest
A food crisis in Southern Africa is compounding the impact
of HIV/AIDS with deepening poverty, hunger and illness, making
it harder for people to cope.
While numbers never convey the depth of human
loss, UN statistics such as these from World Population Prospects:
The 2002 Revision provide some measure of the epidemic’s
UN projections for world population at midcentury were recently
revised downwards by 400 million people; half due to fewer births,
and half due to higher numbers of HIV/AIDS deaths.
Between 2000 and 2050, 278 million people will die earlier
than they would have in the absence of HIV/AIDS in the 53 most-affected
The death toll in the five years from 2000 to 2005 will be
112 per cent higher in Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa,
Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe than the number of deaths projected
in the absence of AIDS.
By 2005, life expectancy in Botswana is estimated to be 28
years lower than it would have been in the absence of AIDS, and
33 years lower in Zimbabwe.
Lives can be saved if people are willing and
able to adopt safer and healthier behaviours for their sexual and
reproductive health. How? Through abstinence, by delaying the age
at which young people start having sex, and through safer sexual
practices, including correct and consistent use of condoms. Nations
need comprehensive reproductive health information and services.
UNFPA supports reproductive health programmes
in more than 140 countries-nearly all with interventions to prevent
HIV infection. The Fund focuses on HIV prevention among young people
and pregnant women, as well as condom programming. This work is
carried out through reproductive health programmes in diverse situations,
from community-based services to humanitarian assistance in times
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