December 1 marks World AIDS Day, the date which was established by the World Health Organisation (WHO) on December 1, 1988. 140 countries supported the idea. Humanity learned about the disease 20 years ago.
Since that AIDS has claimed 20 million people lives throughout the world. Last year's death toll for AIDS stands at 2.7 million, 500,000 of who are children. 5.4 million people contracted HIV last year.
Humanity is yet to face a global epidemics of HIV/AIDS if it fails to join efforts against the disease, said Lars O. Kallings, the UN Secretary General's Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Eastern Europe.
There are about 40 million HIV positive people in the world as of today, according to WHO reports. Africa residents account for two thirds of them.
Russia encountered the problem 10 years after it emerged in the USA and Europe. 100 to 200 new HIV/AIDS cases were registered in the country every year till 1995. Since Russia registered the first HIV positive case 15 years ago, 260,00 people have contracted HIV/AIDS, 3,460 persons have died of it.
However, unlike other countries where HIV/AIDS incidence tends to go down, the AIDS contraction rate is rising dramatically in Russia, Ukraine and the Baltic republics. 300 individuals per 100,000 of the population were HIV positive by late 2002. Drug abuse and the repeated use of syringes for intravenous injections are the main reasons behind the growing HIV/AIDS incidence in these countries. Drug addicts under 30 account for nearly 80% of HIV infected individuals in Russia.
Russian and foreign experts say up to 8 million people, or more than 10% of the adult population, may be infected with HIV/AIDS by 2010, which will be the worst development. However, even most favourable forecasts say an average of 200,000 Russian nationals will die of the disease annually starting 2010.