HIV/ AIDS rates continue to climb worldwide, with weak HIV surveillance among vulnerable populations including men who have sex with men helping to fuel the epidemic. About 40 million people around the world are HIV-positive, up from an estimated 37.5 million in 2003, according to a new United Nations report released this week in the lead-up to World AIDS Day on 1 December.Around 15,000 Australians are HIV-positive, and most infections here continue to occur through gay male sex, according to the UNAIDS report. Sub-Saharan Africa remains the worst affected region, recording 64 percent of recent global HIV infections. Eastern Europe and parts of Asia have also experienced steep increases.The report says HIV prevention programs are not adequately covering at-risk groups including gay men in areas such as Latin America and the Middle East.Some countries in Africa and the Caribbean have recently recorded declining infection rates.But the reality is that the AIDS epidemic continues to outstrip global and national efforts to contain it, UNAIDS executive director Dr Peter Piot said.

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