The United Nations has called a special meeting to address the effect of AIDS in southern Africa.

U.N. officials say Wednesday's meeting in Johannesburg, South Africa will focus on relief efforts and how to get badly-needed resources to the region to battle the growing epidemic.

U.N. special envoy and World Food Program Executive Director James Morris will attend the meeting. Mr. Morris is currently on an 11-day, four-nation tour of southern Africa to call attention to the region's problems with drought and AIDS.

U.N. Children's Fund chair Ann Veneman and U.N. AIDS chief Peter Piot are also expected to attend the meeting.

U.N. figures show southern Africa is one of the world's hardest-hit regions, with infection rates at nearly 40 percent in Botswana and Swaziland. South Africa's infection rate is over 20 percent.