This is Steve Ember with the VOA Special English program, IN THENEWS.
Sunday is World AIDS Day. WorldAIDS Day was first declared at a conference innineteen-eighty-eight. Each year, the observance gives governments,other organizations and individuals a chance to show the importanceof the fight against AIDS. It also is a day to celebrate progress inefforts to stop the spread of the disease.
The message for World AIDS Day this year is, "Live and Let Live."Peter Piot is the head of the United Nations AIDS program. He saysthe world AIDS campaign for the next year is about the way peopleinfected with the AIDS virus are treated. He says those infected canbe treated unfairly in schools, workplaces, and religious centers.He is urging every one to fight this unfair treatment wherever it isfound. He says that would help clear the way to progress in fightingAIDS itself.
This week, U-N officials reported that about half of thoseinfected worldwide are women. Until now, more men were infected. TheU-N's new report estimates that forty-two-million people areinfected with the AIDS virus, also called H-I-V. Nearlythirty-nine-million of those infected are adults. More thannineteen-million of them are women. Last year, more thanfour-million adults became infected. Two-million of them are women.
U-N officials say many women were infected through sex withinfected men. Studies have found that H-I-V passes more easily frommen to women than from women to men.
The main reason for the rise in infected women is the AIDS crisisin southern Africa. There, fifty-eight percent of infected adultsare women. The report says this is one cause for the drop inagricultural production in several African countries. In parts ofAfrica, women do much of the work on family farms.
U-N officials say more than fourteen-million people are at riskof starving in six African countries. They are Lesotho, Malawi,Mozambique, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe. More than five-millionof the twenty-six-million adults in those countries are infected.
U-N officials also report rising infection rates among women inNorth Africa, the Middle East and the Caribbean Sea area. The reportshows that Eastern Europe and Central Asia have the world's fastestgrowing population of H-I-V carriers. This year, there were abouttwo-hundred-fifty-thousand new infections in Eastern Europe andCentral Asia. That represents about twenty percent of all infectionsthere.
In Asia and the Pacific Ocean area, more than seven-millionpeople now have H-I-V. More than one-million people in China areinfected. In India, almost four-million people have the AIDS virus.
The United Nations estimates that at leastten-thousand-five-hundred-million dollars is required for AIDSprograms in much of the world by two-thousand-five. That compareswith current spending of three-thousand-million dollars a year.
This VOA Special English program, IN THE NEWS, was written byCaty Weaver. This is Steve Ember.