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UNAIDS figures released in July 2004 show that:

  • An estimated 37.8 million (between 34.6 million and 42.3 million) people were living with HIV worldwide in 2003
  • In 2003, an estimated 4.8 million (between 4.2 million and 6.3 million) people were newly infected with HIV
  • About 95 percent of people living with HIV and AIDS are in low and middle income countries
  • About 7 percent of the people in low and middle income countries who need anti-retroviral drugs actually received them in 2003.

Figures released in 2003 estimated that the number of people living with HIV/AIDS in each region was as follows:

Australia and New Zealand




East Asia and Pacific


Europe and Central Asia


Latin America


Middle East and North Africa


North America


South and South-East Asia


Sub-Saharan Africa


Western Europe


The Economic Cost of HIV/AIDS

  • HIV/AIDS can have a devastating economic impact on countries with severe infection rates. Estimates suggest when the prevalence of HIV/AIDS reaches 8 percent - about where it is today for 13 African countries - the cost in terms of economic growth is estimated at about 1 percent a years.

The Human Cost

  • In 2001, at least 15 percent of children in 10 sub-Saharan African countries had lost one or both parents to AIDS or associated causes. Because of the 10-year time lag between infection and death, the number of orphans will continue to rise for at least the next decade. By 2010, it is estimated that 20 million children will have lost a parent to AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa alone.
  • Every day 2000 babies are infected with HIV during pregnancy, at birth or through breastfeeding. Without effective medical interventions, at last one third of the infants born to HIV-positive mothers contract the virus. Most of the infants that contract the virus will die before their fifth birthday.
  • Every day there are about 14,000 new HIV infections worldwide. Of these more than 95 percent occur in low and middle income countries and about 2000 are among children under 15.
  • In some sub-Saharan African countries - such as Botswana and Swaziland, more than one-third of adults are estimated to be infected with HIV. South Africa, also in the region, has the largest number of people living with HIV - more than 5 million.

Ignorance Remains a Problem

  • In sub-Saharan Africa, where two girls are infected for every boy, half the teenaged girls interviewed in one survey, did not realize that a healthy-looking person could be HIV-positive.
  • In the Ukraine, 39 percent of teenagers had never heard of AIDS or still believe that HIV can be transferred through supernatural means.

The World Bank's Work On HIV/AIDS

  • In the past six years, the World Bank has committed about US$ 1.7 billion through grants, loans and credits for programs to fight HIV/AIDS
  • The Multi-Country HIV/AIDS Program (MAP) for Africa, first launched in September 2000, has committed more than US$ 1 billion to 28 countries to fight HIV/AIDS
  • In 2001, the Bank made available US$ 155 million for a MAP project to fight HIV/AIDS in the Caribbean.
  • For the poorest nations, World Bank support for HIV/AIDS projects can be up to 100 percent grant financed.
  • In April 2004, the Bank entered into a partnership with the Global Fund, UNICEF, and the Clinton Foundation to make it possible for developing countries to purchase high-quality AIDS medicines at low prices. The drug agreements could save from US$ 150 to US$ 400 per patient per year while the diagnostics agreements will result in savings of up to 80%.
  • To encourage countries to use Bank funding for treatment, the US$ 60 million Treatment Acceleration Project (TAP) was approved in June 2004. The TAP's grants to Burkina Faso, Ghana and Mozambique will test public sector/civil society partnerships to scale up treatment.


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