Epidemic of Global AIDS Continues to Grow

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The global AIDS epidemic continues to grow leaving about 39.5 million people worldwide infected with the virus. The report by UNAIDS and the World Health Organization also shows that some countries that had been making progress in keeping the epidemic in check are backsliding.

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Latest data shows an estimated 39.5 million people around the world are living with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. According to the report, this means every eight seconds somebody in the world is infected with HIV, resulting in 11,000 people becoming newly infected every day.

The executive director of UNAIDS, Peter Piot, says most of the new infections, nearly two-thirds, are in Sub-Saharan Africa. But, the biggest increases are in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, where infection rates have risen by more than 50 percent since 2004. He says 2.9 million people died from AIDS-related illnesses this year, the highest number ever.

"So, what is new is that in the report besides this continuing progress of the epidemic is, as I said, that in some countries that were examples for the fight against AIDS that we see an increase in new infections," said Piot.

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