In a report released by the United Nations and the World Health Organization this week, it was discovered that, for the first time in 20 years, about as many women as men are infected with HIV. The report also stated that 42 million people worldwide are now living with HIV, including 5 million new infections in 2002 alone. While prevention programs are working quite effectively in certain countries, such as South Africa, the infection rate for HIV has risen dramatically throughout the entire region of Eastern Europe. Certain practices continue to contribute to the spread of HIV, such as intergenerational sex; drug use; and in some areas, rape. In a rather ominous commentary on the situation, Alan Whiteside, the director of the HIV/ AIDS research division at the University of Natal in South Africa commented that, "In a situation where life expectancy has plummeted, it's very hard to keep them engaged in a future when they don't believe they have one."
The first two sites lead to recent news articles on the HIV situation around the world, with the first one originating from the Washington Post and the second from the Guardian in the United Kingdom. The third link leads to the most recent 40-page report from the United Nations and the World Health Organization, which addresses the gravity of the situation in the different regions of the world. The fourth site provides a brief synopsis of the progress that is needed to address the problem of funding for HIV/ AIDS prevention and mitigation, particularly in impoverished developing nations. The fifth link leads to a document produced by the United Nations Population Fund that details how agencies and governments may best address HIV prevention in humanitarian settings, and in particular, within countries and regions beset by natural disasters and warfare. Part of the United States Center for Disease Control, the final site contains a multitude of fact sheets, statistics, and trends about the HIV epidemic in the United States.