The United Nations says 42 million people worldwide are infected with H-I-V, the virus that causes AIDS, and infection rates will continue to increase unless there is proper preventative action.
The executive director of the U-N AIDS agency, Peter Piot, says three-point-one million people died from AIDS in 2002.
He told reporters in London there were five-million new H-I-V infections this year. The U-N AIDS program head says women now make up half of those infected with the virus -- a change from two decades ago, when most HIV infections were found in homosexual men.
The fast-growing HIV/AIDS epidemic is in Eastern Europe where an estimated 250 thousand new infections brings the total for the region to one point two million.The report says the virus is primarily spread there by drug users who share needles.
The report says Asian-Pacific countries, including China, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea, may face "huge growth" in their epidemics. It says 11 million new infections could occur in Asia by 2007 unless effective preventative measures are taken.
By far, the worst hit region is southern Africa where the pandemic is fueling a famine threatening more than 14 million people. The report says more than five million adults and 600 thousand children under 15 are infected in six southern African nations.