AIDS Will Kill Off 1
Of Every Two Teens In
Worst-Hit Africa
By Claire Nullis
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 AIDS.
-In 16 sub-Saharan African countries, more than one-tenth of the population ages 15-49 carries the Human Immunodeficiency Virus, or HIV.
-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 conference.
"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 the report.
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 <
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 AIDS-ET Connection."
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 numbers underestimates.
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 <
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.
Dan Coble
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