AIDS Surge May Tally 80
Million New Cases By 2010
By Steve Sternberg
USA Today

LANGLEY, Va. -- A wave of HIV/AIDS cases sweeping through five of the world's most populated countries could, by 2010, swell the global case toll by 80 million new cases, says a report released Monday by the CIA.
The report, The Next Wave of HIV/AIDS: Nigeria, Ethiopia, Russia, India and China, is the latest to warn that the AIDS epidemic will expand far beyond its epicenter in sub-Saharan Africa, weakening other countries and carving a swath through their most productive citizens.
All of the next-wave countries are "of strategic importance" to the USA and "major global or regional players," warns the report by the National Intelligence Council, a think tank that serves the director of the Central Intelligence Agency.
By 2010, it says, these five countries will experience a surge of 50-75 million new HIV/AIDS cases, "eclipsing" the 30-35 million projected in central and southern Africa. Currently there are 40 million HIV-positive people worldwide.
Taken together, the five countries account for 40% of the world's population, and their governments haven't made AIDS a priority, says the report, an unclassified version of a secret assessment.
David Gordon of the CIA's directorate of intelligence says each country could limit the epidemic's impact with aggressive prevention campaigns. "These projections aren't destiny," Gordon said. "At the same time, they are not worst-case scenarios."
Although the CIA projections are 15-20 million higher than those by the United Nation's Joint Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), officials downplayed the differences. "This is by no means an exact science," says Desmond Johns of UNAIDS.
There's no disagreement, Johns says, on the report's key point. "These five countries are major geopolitical players," he says. "The global impact of AIDS in these countries may far outweigh what we've seen in (southern) Africa so far."
The report also predicts:
Nigeria and Ethiopia will be hardest hit, with a social and economic impact similar to African countries that are further south. "Both countries are key to regional stability and the rise in HIV/AIDS will strain their governments." Nigerian oil helps reduce U.S. dependence on oil from the Persian Gulf.
Russia, which is rapidly losing population, will suffer an even faster decline. Public health, at its lowest point since World War II, will get far worse.
China and India will bear a heavy burden of health and social costs, but the disease's economic and political impact is likely to be blunted by huge populations.


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