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UN Report Says AIDS Continues to Expand Worldwide

Despite encouraging signs that the AIDS epidemic is beginning to be contained in a small but growing number of countries, the epidemic continues to expand worldwide, a report released by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said on Thursday.

The report was prepared for a high-level UN ministerial gathering held on Thursday that will assess progress towards meeting the targets set four years ago at a historic UN General Assembly Special Session on HIV/AIDS.

According to the report, progress has been made on several fronts since 2001, and the number of people receiving counseling and testing services has doubled over the past four years.

However, there are serious challenges that need urgent attention in order to achieve the intended goal of reversing the epidemic.

Compared to previous years, there were more new infections (4.9million) and more AIDS death (3.1 million) in 2004, the report said, adding that as at December 2004, an estimated 39.4 million people were living with HIV.

The report makes specific recommendations for scaling up prevention and treatment efforts, expanding services to orphans and children made vulnerable by AIDS, ensuring gender equality, and mobilizing additional resources for fighting AIDS.

(Xinhua News Agency June 3, 2005)

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