Almost 5 million people were infected by HIV globally in 2005, the highest jump since the first reported case in 1981 and taking the number living with the virus to a record 40.3 million.
More than 3.1 million people have died this year from AIDS, including 570,000 children. Nine out of 10 people in developing countries do not know their HIV status.
In South Africa where the infection rate among pregnant women touched 29.5 per cent in 2005, deaths of people aged between 25 and 44 had more than doubled.
Other southern African countries had more than 30 per cent of pregnant women with HIV. Sub-Saharan Africa is home to 25.8 million HIV-positive people or 64 per cent of the world's total.
UNAIDS said the number of HIV-positive women reached 17.5 million this year, more than one million more than in 2003.
In many countries, marriage, and women's own fidelity are not enough to protect them against HIV infection. Many new infections are being reported in married women infected by their husbands after visiting sex workers.
In India, 70 per cent of Indian sex workers either did not know what a condom was or how to use one.
In Eastern Europe, Central Asia and the Russian Federation, infections due to unprotected sex are rising after the initial momentum given to the epidemic by injecting drug use.
The outlook on accessibility of anti-retroviral drugs for people in developing nations is looking brighter, with between 250,000 and 350,000 deaths averted in 2005.
Too many HIV-positive people are still missing out, with just one in 10 Africans and one in 7 Asians who need anti-retroviral treatment actually receiving it.
Two decades into the HIV/AIDS epidemic, in many parts of the world, knowledge about HIV transmission was alarmingly low.
HIV is now on the rise in Pacific island nations.