The number of people with full-blown AIDS has hit 1.64 million and is growing steadily at nearly 20 percent a year, the U.N. health agency said Friday in its annual report.
The World Health Organization did not say how many of the AIDS sufferers have died since 1983, when it began collecting figures on AIDS. It also did not give an estimate of the number of people infected with the AIDS virus who have yet to come down with the disease.
The official count is just a fraction of those believed actually to have AIDS. Last year’s figure represented an 18 percent increase over the 1995 total, WHO said.
The agency estimates that the reported AIDS cases are only about 20 percent of the actual number. The rest go undiagnosed or unreported.
On that basis, WHO estimated there were 8.4 million AIDS cases worldwide by the end of 1996.
The agency said United States accounted for 581,429 cases and Canada had 14,836. Europe has had 191,005 reported cases, Africa has recorded 576,972 and Asia 70,949.