- GENEVA (AP) - The AIDS epidemic
is expected to wipe out about half the current population of teen-agers
in the worst-hit African nations, devastating economies and shattering
societies, the United Nations predicted Tuesday.
- "There is a whole generation which is being taken
out," said Peter Piot, head of the U.N. Joint Program on HIV/AIDS.
He said vulnerable countries in Asia, Eastern Europe and the Caribbean
risk a similar catastrophe unless they act now to control infection rates.
- In its 135-page report released Tuesday, UNAIDS estimates:
- -The virus has killed 19 million people worldwide and
infected 34 million more, including 5.4 million last year alone.
- -More than 13 million children have been orphaned by
- -In 16 sub-Saharan African countries, more than one-tenth
of the population ages 15-49 carries the Human Immunodeficiency Virus,
- -In seven of those countries, at least one-fifth of the
population is infected.
- One of the countries where 20 percent of the population
is infected is South Africa, which has 4.2 million people who are HIV positive
- the largest single national total. The southern African nation of Botswana
has the worst rate, with more than one in three adults infected. That is
the equivalent of 90 million people out of the U.S. population of 270 million.
- "The probability that you die from AIDS when you
are 15 today is over 50 percent in these countries," Piot told a press
- "We are going into societies where there are more
people in their 60s and 70s than there are in their 40s and 30s,"
he said. "This is unheard of."
- With dwindling numbers of economically active adults
left to support the rest of the population, the impact on poor African
nations is devastating.
- Agricultural production in nations like Zimbabwe, where
2,000 people die each week of AIDS, is falling. Businesses are going bankrupt
because of the deaths of skilled, educated staff members, according to
- Hopes of better education are also in tatters. The number
of new teachers trained in Zambia is just keeping pace with the number
felled by AIDS. Children are leaving school because they are orphaned or
forced to work to support their families.
- Hospitals are overwhelmed by AIDS patients. Many have
inadequate supplies of even basic antibiotics to fight the pneumonia, tuberculosis
or mouth fungus that accompany AIDS, let alone the sophisticated drugs
which have eased suffering in rich countries, the report said.
- Denial continues to be a problem. The report cited a
1999 survey of 72 minors orphaned by AIDS in a hard-hit Kenyan community:
Although all knew of the disease, none of them believed their parents had
died of it. Most thought witchcraft or a curse was to blame.
- Piot said one of the reasons for the explosion of cases
in southern Africa is the legacy of apartheid, which separated men from
their families in rural areas and forced them to work in towns, with only
prostitutes for relief. But he said governments were also to blame for
ignoring the problem for too long.
- "What is happening in southern Africa should be
a lesson for countries today which don't have a big problem yet,"
he said. "I'm thinking of Asia, I'm thinking of eastern Europe, I'm
thinking of the Caribbean."
- About $4 billion is needed annually for prevention and
education programs to turn the tide, Piot said. He called for debt-relief
programs for poor countries.
- Although Asia has relatively low infection rates overall,
there are fears that could change because of the density of its population.
Some 0.7 percent of the Indian population is HIV-positive, or 3.7 million
people overall. The disease has so far been largely confined to drug addicts.
- Infections in the former Soviet bloc are soaring because
of drug addiction. Piot said the number of new HIV cases in Moscow last
year far outstripped all previous years combined. And the disease is proliferating
in Caribbean countries like Haiti and Barbados because people have multiple
sexual partners from an early age.
- Despite the gloom of the report, Piot said there are
signs of hope.
- Uganda, which used to be the worst-affected country,
has slowed new infections thanks to strong prevention campaigns and increased
condom use. Zambia is following suit.
- In Washington on Tuesday, the Peace Corps announced a
worldwide campaign to push similar measures - training its 2,400 volunteers
in Africa in preventive techniques and forming a 200-member "crisis
corps" to help educate communities.
- "There is no option for any organization working
in development other than to play a role in helping these countries confront
the HIV-AIDS crisis," Peace Corps Director Mark Schneider said.
- Cambodia, which has the highest rate of infection in
Asia at 4.4 percent, is copying Thailand's successful campaign of promoting
condom use. And Brazil's policy of prevention coupled with locally produced
alternatives to high-cost anti-AIDS drugs has halved the number of deaths
and led to huge savings in hospital bills, the report said.
- "In the West and in Europe, the impact of treatment
has been spectacular," Piot said. "Mortality has really collapsed.
There is a longer and better life for people with AIDS."
- Ironically, the report cited studies from Australia and
San Francisco showing that the very success of AIDS therapies has encouraged
a revival in risky behavior, with growing numbers of young homosexual men
having unprotected intercourse and multiple partners.
- Public Spin On AIDS Blasted As Far Too Optimistic
- From Phillip S. Duke <firstname.lastname@example.org
- The June 27 prime time television presentation by Dan
Rather, and June 26 Washington Post article on HIV/AIDS in Africa, are
both misleading. Mr. Rather starts out by saying that regarding AIDS in
America "the worst is behind us." He points out that deaths from
AIDS are down in the USA and then uses the word "even cure."
It is implicit in his presentation that what is happening over there is
very different than what might ever happen here.
- The Washington Post article presents statistics on world
wide incidence of HIV/AIDS which are obviously far too optimistic. According
to The American Foundation on AIDS Research, as a rough measure their numbers
need to be multiplied by at least three.
- In fact HIV with its rapid mutation rate can be reliably
expected to continue developing chemical resistance to all possible chemical
treatments. They only buy more time, which is not being used to prevent
future infection. To the contrary, optimism breeds an attitude of indifference
to prevention, which is evident in the statistics which indicate HIV infection
rate is accelerating in the USA and elsewhere.
- If one employs the Washington Post statistics and makes
the usual assumptions of exponential yearly doubling, then it will take
only two years longer, for the number of HIV infected to exceed the world
population, than the calculated time required presented in my book "The
- Everything works to underestimate the number of HIV infected
worldwide. Testing is simply not available to most of the third world populations
in China, India, Africa and elsewhere. People don't want to know, and if
they are HIV positive don't want to tell. Availability of non-reportable
testing in the USA and elsewhere makes all statistics based on reported
- And, the most commonly used HIV specific testing methods,
Blot and IFA, DO NOT DETECT HIV-2. HIV-2 which also causes AIDS is believed
to be spreading worldwide, especially in India and west Africa. The CDC
has reported HIV-2 positive cases in the USA as of 1997, but HIV/AIDS counseling
centers still do NOT routinely test for it.
- The bottom line is, these highly respected and widely
heard newsmedia have bought into the current politically correct attitude
of HIV/AIDS optimism, presumably because they don't know any better. They
have been deceived. Meanwhile, there is every reason to believe that as
before HIV infection continues to spread exponentially. Perhaps 1% of the
general US population is infected. Perhaps more. Who knows? Is this situation
a reason for optimism? I don't think so.
- From Dan Coble <email@example.com
- I appreciate your postings, but I hope you will look
into what I am saying.
- HIV is nothing in the world of disease, it's a smoke
screen to hide the real global killer being used to de-populate the world......Hepatitis.
- Hepatitis is killing 3 times more people than AIDS, and
3 times more people are infected.
- As long as the world thinks AIDS is this mystery illness
without a cure, then they won't notice hepatitis...aids is a new disease
of mysterious (Read Government Made) origins, that is insidious and deadly,
while no one notices an "OLD" disease like Hepatitis, that doesn't
have the sex appeal of a new mystery disease.....
- While your intentions are good and honorable, you are
doing a disservice to those who are dead and dying from this disease, by
helping the liberal willing-accomplice media spread lies about this problem.
- Look to America's Veteran population, and you will see
that we Lab rats for a sinister- runaway government, have some of the highest
rates of infection and death from hepatitis, and that "Someone"
or something is spreading this disease like wildfire (Contrails?)While
using the sleight of hand of the ever sexy HIV to avert our attention.
- Trust me, your site would better serve it's readers by
seeing and reporting the truth of this issue.
- I am, and will continue to be, an avid reader, but I
see you and your site being "USED" to help spread these lies
and distractions from the truth.
- I am a member of several Veteran's groups at the forefront
of this issue, and if you would like to see some of our information...all
of which is based on sound clinical and scientific information, then let
me know, and I will put you in touch with those who can speak volumes on
this issue....not a bunch of ill-informed conspiracy theorisits either,
as some would like to have the world believe, but scores of medical profesionals,
from both the inside and outside of this truth.
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