Apple's making a contribution to the fight against Aids, reports The New York Times.

The company has agreed to webcast a 24-hour women's baseball game in an attempt to raise up to $1 million for the charity group, US Doctors for Africa and to promote women's baseball.

American Women's Baseball federation vice president Rob Novotny sees a connection between women's baseball and AIDS: "The world hardly pays attention to either one," he said.

Aids has cost 28 million lives worldwide, claiming 3.1 million in the last year. The UN has an established aim to halt and reverse the epidemic by 2015, but efforts so far have fallen short, the organization established during a conference yesterday.

Disaster The organization currently believes there will be 45 million new infections by 2010, head of the UN's Global Fund to combat AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria Richard Feachem said: "The pandemic is galloping out of control."

Microsoft chairman Bill Gates told a youth forum in South Africa this week that if the history of Aids was written 40 or 50 years from now, people will say the world has not reacted to Aids as quickly as it should have.

Speaking at the same forum, former South African president Nelson Mandela said: "Aids is clearly a disaster, effectively wiping out the development gains of the past decades and sabotaging the future."

The situation among the developing nations remains bleak, as governments lack resources to buy the medication required and efforts by third parties prove insufficient to cope with the epidemic.

Statistics regarding the continuing Aids outbreak are available here.