The New Year in Africa: More AIDS, Persistent Internal Conflicts, the Unresolved Congo War
January 3, 2002
Africa heads into the New Year still suffering from AIDS, sporadic internal fighting and the unresolved Congo war, which threatens the stability of central Africa. The continent also faces key presidential elections. More than 28 million of the 40 million people infected with HIV live in sub-Saharan Africa and most of the infected have little hope of getting medicine to treat the disease, despite the reduced cost of drugs and United Nations efforts to create an international AIDS fund.
South Africa, the continent's wealthiest country and the one with the highest number of infected people, will face increasing pressure -- including lawsuits -- to provide AIDS medicine through its public health system. Botswana, blessed with diamond wealth and cursed with the world's highest AIDS rate, has promised to begin providing medicines this year to all needing it. But few other African countries have the funds for widespread programs.
With international attention focused on the war against terrorism, the fate of hundreds of thousands of refugees from Africa's myriad conflicts is in question. Without more money, the World Food Program says it could be forced to suspend help to 1 million people displaced by fighting in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.
12.20.01; Ravi Nessman
This article was provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update. Visit the CDC's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.