United Nations: A UN report on Thursday listed India with the sub-Saharan countries having the highest number of youngsters infected by the deadly HIV virus.

In the age group of 10-19 years, India with 46,000 infected girls and 49,000 boys, has been ranked tenth in the list of countries most affected with HIV in 2009, the report 'Opportunity in Crisis: Preventing HIV from early adolescence to young adulthood' said.

South Africa is at the top with 2,10,000 girls and 82,000 boys infected with the virus while Nigeria at second with 1,80,000 girls and 1,00,000 boys followed by Kenya.

The report, released on Thursday, said that most infected adolescents live in sub-Saharan Africa and most of them are women, and most do not know their status.

It said globally young women make up more than 60 per cent of all young people living with HIV.

"For many young people HIV infection is the result of neglect, exclusion, and violations that occur with the knowledge of families, communities, social and political leaders," said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake. According to the report, every day, an estimated 2500
young people are infected with HIV.

Further, those aged 15-24 years accounted for 41 per cent of new infections among adults over the age of 15 in 2009.

This is the first time that UN agencies are focusing on presenting data that would prevent HIV from early adolescence.

The report said that while HIV prevalence has declined slightly among young people, young women and adolescent girls face a disproportionately high risk of infection due to biological vulnerability, social inequality and exclusion.

In India, the report said, the epidemic is driven largely by sex workers and 4.9 per cent of female sex workers are HIV-positive.

It also said that India was making progress in providing sexual education by overcoming socio-cultural and political opposition.

Agencies