Peter Piot, Director of UNAIDS, stated at the weekend that the future toll of the AIDS pandemic will still be serious even if the progression of the disease is halted instantly.
The statement was made at a joint meeting of the United Nations General Assembly Second and Third Committees, after analysis of the data on AIDS supplied in June. This data showed that three countries in southern Africa have infection rates of 30% of the adult population and indicated a sharp increase in Western African countries and the Caribbean.
Peter Piot declared that the fastest-rising HIV infection rates were being registered in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, while there are also rapid increases in infection rates in the populous nations of India, China and Indonesia. “In the speed and extent of its global spread and its destructive force, HIV/AIDS now stands as the worst epidemic in human history”, he added.
The counter-measures are however well known by all: education programmes, sharing of resources and medicines which block the process of reproduction of the virus in the body, reducing the viral load levels to manageable proportions. The tragedy is that such medicines are expensive to produce and are only readily available in developed nations. Peter Piot claims the fact that there are more and more countries with a national AIDS strategy is a positive sign for the future, although the consequences of the disease will still be very serious, even if infection is stopped immediately.
Timothy BANCROFT-HINCHEY PRAVDA.Ru
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