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close this bookHandbook for Legislators on HIV/AIDS, Law and Human Rights - Action to Combat HIV/AIDS in view of its Devastating Human, Economic and Social Impact (UNAIDS, 1999, 152 p.)
close this folderI. INTRODUCTION
View the document(i) Gravity of the Global Problem
View the document(ii) Impact on Development
View the document(iii) Purpose of this Handbook

(i) Gravity of the Global Problem

At the end of 1998 UNAIDS and WHO estimated that 33.4 million people were currently living with HIV infection, including 13.8 million women (43%) and 1.2 million children.1 Most of these people do not even know that they are infected. The vast majority of people living with HIV/AIDS are in developing countries - 22.5 million people in sub-Saharan Africa (50 % of whom are women), 6.7 million people in south and south-east Asia, and 1.4 million people in Latin America. Annex A sets out medical facts and recent initiatives relevant to HIV/AIDS.

An estimated 2.5 million people died of AIDS in 1998, including 900,000 women and 510,000 children. Of the 47.3 million people who have been infected since the epidemic began two decades ago, nearly 14 million have already died. 95% of these deaths occurred in developing countries. During 1998, 6 million people were newly infected with HIV - this equates to 16,000 people being infected every day, a 10% increase on the previous year. Nearly half these new cases were in young people under the age of 24 years. If this trend continues, it is estimated that more than 40 million people will be infected with HIV by the year 2000. Governments, particularly those in developing countries where the epidemic is mainly focused, cannot ignore these statistics - early and effective interventions can save millions of lives and vitally affect the quality of life of those already infected with HIV