An official of the World Health Organization said the AIDS epidemic is only in its infancy and predicted about a million new cases will be diagnosed globally in the next five years.

Dr. Jonathan Mann, the organization's AIDS director, told a conference of health workers Friday that an estimated 5 million to 10 million people are already infected with the HIV virus, believed a precursor to AIDS.Mann, who said another 150,000 people will be diagnosed this year as having the HIV virus, warned that AIDS was not likely to remain confined primarily to homosexual men and intravenous drug users, as it has been in the United States.

Noting that the lethal disease is predominant among heterosexuals in Africa, he said that "there must be several hundred million people whose behaviors would permit them to become infected."

Mann called AIDS "a global disease of a new order" requiring efforts by every nation.