The United Nations Organisation released figures this week which claim that the AIDS pandemic has yet to peak and is expected to claim 60 million lives within the next 20 years.
This will mean that the AIDS pandemic is the worst in the history of humankind and will overtake cancer as the world’s leading killer, having already claimed 25 million lives around the globe, 17 million of these in Africa.
In 2001, 2.2 million people died from AIDS in Africa, while in the developed countries, the figure was only 25,000. Of the 28.5 million people infected with AIDS in Africa, only 30,000 have access to treatment. In Botswana, nearly 39% of the adult population is infected with the HIV virus, which can lead to AIDS.
UN AIDS director Dr. Peter Piot stated that “The unprecedented destruction wrought by the HIV/AIDS epidemic over the past 20 years will multiply several times in the decades to come unless the fight against the disease is dramatically expanded”.
6,000 young people are infected with HIV, every day, according to UNICEF. Some through unprotected voluntary sexual relations, some through shared needles, others from rape, a few by accident. Most believe they are not at risk of catching the deadly disease. Until it is too late. Half of all new cases are found in the 15-to-24 age group.
UNICEF has issued a declaration which reads: “More than two decades into the epidemic, the vast majority of young people remain uninformed about sex and sexually-transmitted infection. Although a majority of them have heard of AIDS, many do not know how HIV is spread and do not believe they are at risk”.
The UNICEF report mentioned the danger posed by the illegal sex trade around the world, involving at least one million children, many of whom are HIV positive and claimed that the danger is not only in Less developed Countries, but also in the developed world, where people show signs of complacency.
Between 1995 and 2000, other sexually-transmitted diseases, such as gonorrhoea and syphilis, have increased, showing that the declines registered during the late 1980s and early 1990s have given way to a new climate of complacency about safer sexual practices.
The UNICEF report warns that there is an “urgent need for governments and civil society everywhere to work with young people”. If education programmes are not working, there needs to be a change of emphasis. 6,000 new cases every day is a figure which speaks for itself. There is no room for complacency.
Timothy BANCROFT-HINCHEY PRAVDA.Ru
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