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POPULATION AND DEVELOPMENT REVIEW. 1998 Sep; 24(3):655-8.The UN Program on HIV/AIDS and the World Health Organization jointly monitor the global HIV/AIDS epidemic. The agencies' most recent survey tracking the spread of the pandemic, published in June 1998, estimates that by the beginning of 1998, 30.6 million people were infected with HIV, including 12.1 million women and 1.1 million children under age 15 years, and that 11.7 million had already died from AIDS. An estimated 5.8 million people were newly infected with HIV in 1997, and 2.3 million people died during the year from AIDS. An estimated 8.2 million children under age 15 years since the beginning of the epidemic lost either their mother or both parents to AIDS. 21 million of the 30.6 million people living with HIV/AIDS reside in sub-Saharan Africa. Indeed, approximately 83% of the world's AIDS deaths have been in sub-Saharan Africa. Newly available sophisticated estimates of the impact of the epidemic upon adult mortality in some of the most severely affected sub-Saharan African countries are presented.