June 13, 2005
India, China, Russia, Ethiopia and Nigeria are among the countries confronting early- to mid-stage HIV/AIDS epidemics that could become severe public health crises without wide-scale, sustained prevention efforts, according to public- and private-sector HIV/AIDS experts who last week attended a conference sponsored by the Center for Strategic and International Studies' Task Force on HIV/AIDS, Washington File reports. The five countries -- which account for about 43% of the world's population -- were identified in a 2000 National Intelligence Council report as likely settings for a "second wave" of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, according to Washington File. The CSIS Task Force -- which was created to build bipartisan consensus on U.S. HIV/AIDS policies -- brought HIV/AIDS experts on the five countries to the conference, titled "HIV/AIDS Pandemic: The Second Wave," to discuss the nature and the future of the epidemics. India has the most HIV-positive people of the four countries -- approximately 5.19 million, according to an Indian government report released last month. "India is looking at a gargantuan problem within five to six years unless it takes decisive action now," Teresita Schaffer, a former U.S. ambassador to Sri Lanka and a CSIS Task Force member, said. Victor Barbiero, chief of USAID's Implementation Support Division, discussed how the United States is working with India to fight HIV/AIDS, and Helene Gayle -- director for HIV, tuberculosis and reproductive health programs at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation -- talked about the foundation's Avahan prevention program in India (Bullock, Washington File, 6/9).
A kaisernetwork.org HealthCast of the conference is available online.
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