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AIDS Numbers Continue To Rise : WHO

The World Health Organization (WHO) said today that even though preventive measures like use of condoms, delay of first sexual experience and avoiding multiple sexual// partners have been strictly followed worldwide, the number of AIDS cases across the globe is on the rise.

The United Nations (UN) report also stressed that there was a need for a greater HIV prevention effort in order to control the AIDS epidemic that threatens to swamp the world. These findings are published in the AIDS Epidemic Update 2005, the annual report by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and the World Health Organization (WHO). The report notes that the overall infection rates in African countries like Kenya and Zimbabwe has decreased, but the HIV transmission rate was still high. In Kenya, the overall adult infection rate dropped from 10 percent in the 1990s to 7 percent in 2003.

In Zimbabwe, the HIV rates among pregnant women fell from 26 percent in 1990s to 21 percent in 2003. The report also adds that because of the expansion of voluntary HIV testing and counseling, HIV cases in Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, Dominican Republic and Haiti were on the decline an gave cause for optimism. However, there were five million new HIV-positive cases in 2005 and the total number of AIDS cases worldwide was 40.3 million people, up from an estimated 37.5 million in 2003. The report says that the biggest increase in AIDS cases was in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. 'We are encouraged by the gains that have been made in some countries and by the fact that sustained HIV prevention programmes have played a key part in bringing down infections. But the reality is that the AIDS epidemic continues to outstrip global and national efforts to contain it,' said UNAIDS Executive Director Dr Peter Piot. 'It is clear that a rapid increase in the scale and scope of HIV prevention programmes is urgently needed. We must move from small projects with short-term horizons to long- term, comprehensive strategies.'

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