Mexico (Agencies: 3/8/2008): A global conference on HIV/Aids has opened in Mexico City, a quarter of a century after the disease first became widely known.
Figures released ahead of the meeting reveal that the number of people with the condition around the world has gone down slightly overall.
However, infection rates are still rising in some countries and access to the right treatment is also an issue.
Across the world 33 million people are affected by the syndrome.
The six-day conference was preceded by an awareness march, a photo exhibition and other events.
About 20,000 scientists, government officials and campaigners are in Mexico City for the event.
Former US President Bill Clinton is due to attend on Monday.
Since Aids first became known, 25 million people have died.
HIV INFECTION RATES IN USA MUCH HIGHER THAN OFFICIAL REPORTS:
In the US, better detection methods have just shown the figures there have been underestimated by about 30%.
It is anticipated that the estimated number of new HIV infections will continue to be high in the USA, according to AIDS Action. AIDS Actions said "After 27 years the United States lacks a coherent strategy for combating the HIV/AIDS epidemic, reflected in this disturbing increase in the estimate of HIV incidence."
AIDS Action Deputy Executive Director Ronald Johnson said "The higher estimate of annual new HIV infections does not mean that HIV prevention does not work. What is failing is national leadership to fund and support sound, scientifically effective HIV prevention programs."
AFRICA THE WORST HIT BY AIDS, BY FAR
— Sub-Saharan Africa remains the region most heavily affected by HIV, accounting for two thirds of all people living with HIV and 75 percent of AIDS deaths in 2007.
— An estimated 1.9 million people were newly infected with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa in 2007, bringing to 22 million the number of Africans living with HIV.
— The nine countries in southern Africa continue to bear a disproportionate share of the global AIDS burden, with 35 percent of HIV infections and 38 percent of AIDS deaths in 2007 in the region.
HUMAN RIGHTS OF SUFFERRERS:
There are concerns, too about the human rights of sufferers who are often too scared to seek treatment.
It all means that the 17th international HIV/Aids conference has much to discuss, our correspondent says.