"Sub-Saharan Africa has been more severely affected by AIDS than any other part of the world. The United Nations reports that 26.6 million adults and children are infected with the HIV virus in the region, which has about 10% of the world's population but two-thirds of the worldwide total of infected people. The overall rate of infection among adults in sub-Saharan Africa is 7.5%-8.5%, compared with 1.1% worldwide. Twelve countries, mostly in east and southern Africa, have HIV infection rates of more than 10%; the rate has reached 38.8% in Botswana. As of 2003, an estimated 22.9 million Africans had died of AIDS, including 2.3 million who died in that year. AIDS has surpassed malaria as the leading cause of death in Africa, and it kills many times more Africans than war. In Africa, 58% of those infected are women. Experts relate the severity of the African AIDS epidemic to the region's poverty. Health systems are ill-equipped for prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. Poverty forces many men to become migrant workers in urban areas, where they may have multiple sex partners. Poverty leads many women to become commercial sex workers, vastly increasing their risk of infection."
CRS Issue Brief for Congress, IB10050
U.S. Department of State: http://www.state.gov/