Daily Revolt

June 06, 2007

New AIDS Cases in Africa Outpace Gains

Africans are losing the war on AIDS. And along with other wars, the genocide of a continent continues; with no hope in sight:
There is a bright side to sub-Saharan Africa’s war on AIDS: hundreds of thousands of infected people once doomed to die are now receiving life-saving treatment. Fully 28 percent of those who need drug treatment get it, compared with just 2 percent in 2003.

But Beira also represents the less noticed, stubborn umbra — the pandemic’s continued spread. For each sub-Saharan African who was placed on anti-AIDS drugs last year, experts say, five more were newly infected. The region’s rate of new infections has not budged since the late 1990s, experts say.

If current trends persist, sub-Saharan Africa, already reeling under the burden of nearly 25 million infected people and in the midst of a population boom, will face 36 million additional new infections by 2015, according to a report to be released this June by the Global H.I.V. Prevention Working Group. Treatment clinics will confront an ever-growing clientele and countless millions will die, said the panel of experts, which was convened by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Once again HIV in Africa is receiving very little public attention since the limited media coverage focuses on Darfur. How can millions dying be almost ignored by the West:
Worldwide, prevention programs reach fewer than one in five people at high risk of infection, the United Nations AIDS agency estimates. In 2005, $3.2 billion was spent on prevention, $2.5 billion less than what was needed, the agency says.

The working group estimated that a properly financed and executed prevention campaign could reduce the number of global infections in 2015 by nearly two-thirds. “This degree of success would likely disable the epidemic,” the report said.

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