"The famine in
"The famine is a tragic example of how this pandemic combines with other crises to create even greater catastrophes."
The report, a
twice-yearly statistical update, confirmed sub-Saharan
By the end of the year, 42 million people around the world, two million more than in 2001, will be living with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or the disease it causes, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (Aids).
Of those 42 million,
29.4 million will live south of the
HIV rate beats the 'impossible'
Africans will account for 3.5 million of new infections in 2002, and 2.4 million of the 3.1 million lives claimed by Aids this year.
The report placed
special emphasis on southern
These four countries,
In 2001 alone, the six countries, whose economies are primarily agricultural, lost nearly half a million workers to Aids.
Even in normal times, the loss of an income-earner to Aids has a devastating effect on a rural household, causing crop output to plummet by up to 60%, it said. Shrinking household incomes leave people with less money to buy food or the simplest medications to sustain life.
In the face of poor or negligible harvests, many communities will no longer have the means, either in financial resources or workers, to survive famine, the UN agencies feared.
The report said it was
essential for the world not to write off
"It is too easily forgotten that the vast majority of Africans - more than 90% - have not acquired HIV. Enabling them to remain HIV-free is a massive challenge, with the protection of young people a priority."
Ominous patterns of growth
It handed out plaudits
The rate fell from 21% in 1998 to 15.4% in 2001, which suggests that awareness and prevention efforts are at last bearing some fruit.
But "huge challenges remain", the report said.
"ominous patterns of growth" in HIV incidence in west and central
The astonishing rise
among young pregnant women in
Massive financial help, medical care in the form of low-cost antiretrovirals, and effective awareness campaigns conducted by authorities and organisations at every level are needed, both now, and for many years to come.
"Even if exceptionally effective prevention, treatment and care programmes take hold immediately, the scale of the pandemic means that the human and socioeconomic toll will be massive for many generations," the report warned. - Sapa-AFP