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UN Says HIV Infection Rate Hits Global Record High

Intravenous drug use is a major culprit in the spread of HIV 6 July 2004 -- A new United Nations report says the spread of HIV hit a record high in 2003.

The report, by the UN agency UNAIDS, says around 4.8 million people became infected with HIV in 2003 -- more than in any single year since the crisis was recognized in 1981.

The UNAIDS report says that after Africa, countries of Eastern Europe and Central Asia are experiencing the world's fastest-growing HIV infection rate.

UNAIDS says that with the exception of Ukraine, Eastern European governments are not doing enough to deal with the problem.

The report was released ahead of the 15th International AIDS Conference, which opens in Bangkok on 11 July.