Rethink Strategies in the Fight Against AIDS in Africa: UN Expert
December 8, 2005
There are three reasons for reasons for thinking HIV/AIDS strategies, especially in Africa, are inadequate and should be rethought, a UNAIDS official said at the 14th International Conference on HIV/AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Infections in Africa.
"First, every year we see an increase in the number of infections," Michel Sidibe, deputy head of UNAIDS, said on the sidelines of the conference in Abuja, Nigeria. "That proves prevention strategies aren't working."
"Moreover, even if we're scared to say so, we haven't been able to cut the number of AIDS-linked deaths in Africa and that proves that drugs are not being made available," Sidibe said. Of the 4.7 million Africans with HIV/AIDS needing antiretroviral therapy, only some 500,000 are receiving them. In 2005, 2.4 million Africans died of AIDS.
Third, the high infection rate among women -- especially young women -- and children "might create a social catastrophe that could in the long term prove one of the most difficult to manage in Africa," said Sidibe. "The continent's elite have not, as yet, measured the gravity of the danger."
Furthermore, a dangerous trend to new infections reflects what "one notices even in the West: the new cases of HIV infection are occurring in the poorest sections of society," Sidibe said.
"There is a multitude of actors and a multitude of sources of funding, but no coordination, meaning that public servants and associations spend more time in their offices writing reports and drawing up funding requests than they do implementing projects on the ground," said Sidibe. "To manage this type of crisis, one needs a strong and democratic state that has the interest of the public at heart, because without democracy there is no obligation to get results."
Agence France Presse
12.08.2005; Emmanuel Goujon
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.