AIDS Makes a Comeback

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PARIS: Ever since the arrival of protease inhibitors, Americans could be forgiven for feeling that the fight against AIDS was all over but the shouting. New figures from the United Nations Wednesday ought to wipe away such complacency, however: It turns out that we've underestimated the number of AIDS cases by a third. Indeed, as many as 1 in every 100 sexually active adults has the HIV virus.

According to UNAIDS, about 5.8 million people were infected worldwide in 1997, up from the 3.1 million people doctors had originally estimated. "The full impact of the epidemic in terms of AIDS mortality is only just beginning," said the report adding there could be a total of 40 million cases worldwide by 2000.

If that doesn't bring it home, try this: While 1 in 100 have HIV, only 10 percent of those infected know they have the virus. And remember, despite the success of protease inhibitors in battling the symptoms, there is no known cure.

  • TIME's 1996 Man of the Year, AIDS Researcher Dr. David Ho