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International News

Intelligence Study Raises Estimate of AIDS Spread

October 1, 2002

The National Intelligence Council predicts that by 2010 the current AIDS epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa may be dwarfed by the five populous countries of India, China, Russia, Nigeria and Ethiopia. The government agency foresees double or triple the estimate of 25 million AIDS cases experts made last summer.

The five nations together contain about 40 percent of the world's population. In each, the AIDS epidemic has barely started or not yet peaked. Other agencies, like UNAIDS and the World Health Organization, questioned the projections, while acknowledging that previous demographic estimates have been too low. "They are applying a worst-case scenario systematically through all of these countries," said Neff Walker, an epidemiologist at UNAIDS.

Richard G.A. Feacham, director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria said, "India is certainly going to experience a massive epidemic, and so will China." He added that India is on an African trajectory, only 15 years behind. In both countries, the national responses are grossly inadequate to begin to confront the wave of devastation and death that is breaking over them.

The 28-page report by the council -- a panel of experts that perform strategic analyses for the president, the Central Intelligence Agency and other governmental agencies -- follows up on a council report released two years ago. Some conclusions include:

  • Because AIDS is relatively new to Russia and China, they will be able to "manage the impact of the disease through the end of the decade."


  • With 700,000 cases at the end of 2001 in Russia, the vast majority among drug users, the council predicts there will be 5 million to 8 million cases by 2010. "Russia faces so many other serious problems that HIV/AIDS is unlikely to receive high level attention... until the economic and security costs of neglect become more tangible," the authors wrote.

  • Nigeria and Ethiopia "will be the hardest hit... decimating key government and business elites, undermining growth and discouraging foreign investment," the report said. There will be between 10 million and 15 million cases of HIV in Nigeria by 2010, with 18 to 26 percent adult prevalence. Ethiopia will have 7 million to 10 million cases and a prevalence of 19 to 27 percent.

  • There will be 10 million to 15 million cases in China.

Back to other CDC news for October 1, 2002

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Adapted from:
Washington Post

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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