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ENEVA Nov 24 An estimated 53 million people including 600000 children under age 15 became infected with the virus that causes AIDS this year the World Health Organization said today For the first time the number of new infections in sub-Saharan Africa stabilized but that was offset by increases in morbidity the rate the disease was contracted and deaths in the region An estimated 38 million people in the region were newly infected this year with HIV the virus that causes AIDS down from 4 million in 1999 Sub-Saharan Africa is home to about one-tenth of the worlds population but accounted for 72 percent of new infections last year The region also has 70 percent of the people living with the virus or with AIDS and 80 percent of the deaths in the past year according to the health agencys Weekly Epidemiological Record Worldwide 361 million adults and children are estimated to be living with AIDS or the virus split almost equally between men and women In the two decades since the disease was recognized it has killed an estimated 218 million people including 3 million this year The numbers of women dying continue to increase accounting for an estimated 52 percent of adult deaths this year the health agency said The disease claims new victims in all parts of the world including industrial countries although the availability of therapy is slowing progression from viral infection to AIDS and death the agency said Over all the number of new viral infections in industrial countries has remained relatively constant over the past few years it said citing data that showed the United States and Canada had an estimated 920000 people living with the virus or with AIDS with approximately 45000 new cases this year Another 540000 victims live in Western Europe which had about 30000 new infections this year Australia and New Zealand have an estimated 15000
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