Sub-Saharan Africa still has the world's highest number of HIV
cases, accounting for 67% of global infections, a United
Nations reports said.
"An estimated 1.9 million people were newly infected with HIV in
sub-Saharan Africa in 2008, bringing to 22.4 million the number of
people living with HIV," the UNAIDS agency said in a statement.
Women and girls remain the worst affected in the region,
accounting for 60% of the overall HIV infections.
Africa's economic power house, South Africa, remains home to the
world's largest population of people living with the virus, with
5.7 million cases recorded in 2007.
But the report highlighted an increased use of condom use by
South African males during their first sexual encounter, up from
31.3% in 2001 to 64.8% in 2008.
Swaziland still hard hit
The prevalence of the virus in East African countries appear to
be stabilising, with Burundi and Kenya showing a decline in
The agency has attributed the improvement to increased access to
treatment and changes in sexual behaviour.
It also noted that by the end of 2008, 44% of adults and
children had access to treatment, compared with only two%
covered five years ago.
But South African's impoverished neighbour, Swaziland, still has
one of the most severe levels of infections in the region, with 26
percent of the 1.1 million afflicted by the disease.
Swaziland's HIV treatment is not easily available to all people
living with the virus.
According to the agency, Aids deaths in the sub-Saharan region
have left 14 million orphans. – (Sapa, November 2009)