Tuesday, July 29, 2008

HIV/AIDS: State of a Global Epidemic

HIV/AIDS: State of the Global Epidemic

Excerpts from Lawrence K. Altman article in the NYT –July 30, 2008

A report financed in part by the Ford Foundation and the Elton John AIDS Foundation, provides a startling new perspective on an epidemic that was first recognized in 1981.

Nearly 600,000 African-Americans are living with H.I.V., the virus that causes AIDS, and up to 30,000 are becoming infected each year. When adjusted for age, their death rate is two and a half times that of infected whites, the report said. Partly as a result, the hypothetical nation of black America would rank below 104 other countries in life expectancy.

If black America were a country, it would rank 16th in the world in the number of people living with the AIDS virus, the Black AIDS Institute.

In a separate another report, the United Nations painted a somewhat more optimistic picture of the worldwide AIDS epidemic, noting that fewer people are dying of the disease since its peak in the late 1990s and that more people are receiving antiretroviral drugs.

The United Nations report said that in Rwanda and Zimbabwe, changes in sexual behavior had led to declines in the number of new H.I.V. infections.

However, the report found that progress remained uneven and that the future of the epidemic was uncertain.

These reports come in advance of the 17th International AIDS Conference, which begins this weekend in Mexico City.

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