'AIDS Explodes Behind
The Iron Curtain'

Independent Online - South Africa

WARSAW (Sapa-AFP)-- An international Aids conference warned on Wednesday of an explosion of Aids victims behind the former Iron Curtain, unless people who are HIV positive there are given the same treatment as those in the West.
"These countries will be confronted with a high death rate in 10 years if the now HIV-infected patients don't get access to treatment which is standardised in Western Europe," the European Aids Conference said at the end of a five-day gathering here.
It pointed to a "dramatic situation in Eastern Europe".
The organisation, which brought 2,500 delegates from 51 countries to the Polish capital, said that of about two million people who are HIV positive on the European continent, 1.2 million live in Russia and Ukraine.
Professor Christine Katlama, of the Paris' Pitie-Salpetriere hospital, said that with early treatment Aids could be delayed by many years.
"We can consider today, that a patient seeking early medical help, can retard the outbreak of Aids for decades," she said.
At a news conference, she urged governments to keep up their information campaigns, stressing "safe sex is the only real protection against the virus".
And she urged governments not to rest on their laurels because of a declining number of infections.
"Ever decreasing numbers of infections should not weaken efforts," she said. "This would lead to the fact that people at high potential risk feel safe, drop their guard and seek treatment too late."
Dr Mike Youle, who attended the conference from Britain, said that "cure was more expensive than prevention".
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