Aids 'Turns 20' and 60m Have Been Infected

November 28 2001 at 09:03PM

Paris - Twenty years after it had been identified, Aids had killed more than 20 million people and another 40 million were infected with the virus, United Nations agencies said on Wednesday.

"Aids has become the most devastating disease humankind has ever faced," UNAids and the World Health Organisation declared ahead of World Aids Day on Saturday.

"HIV/Aids is now the leading cause of death in sub-Saharan Africa. Worldwide, it is the fourth-biggest killer."

In the hardest-hit countries, "Aids threatens human welfare, developmental progress and social stability on an unprecedented scale", the two agencies said.

In their annual report on the epidemic, they estimated that three million people would have died from Aids in 2001 and another five million were likely to have become infected with the HIV. That would bring the current number of people with HIV/Aids to around 40 million.

The agencies painted a dark tableau of faltering vigilance and worrying complacency in many parts of the world, noting that the campaign against Aids was still reliant on prevention. - Sapa-AFP