Aids Awareness

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When AIDS first emerged, no-one could have predicted how the epidemic would spread across the world and how many millions of lives it would change. There was no real idea what caused it, and consequently, no real idea how to protect against it. Now, in 2004, we know from bitter experience that AIDS is caused by the virus HIV, and that it can devastate families, communities and whole continents. We have seen the epidemic knock decades off countries' national development, widen the gulf between rich and poor nations and push already-stigmatized groups closer to the margins of society. We are living in an ‘international' society, and HIV has become the first truly ‘international' epidemic, easily crossing oceans and international borders.…show more content…
National prevalence rates can remain low, while infection rates in certain populations can be very high indeed.
Infection rates in East Africa, once the highest on the continent, hover above those in the West of the continent but have been exceeded by the rates now being seen in the southern cone. The prevalence rate among adults in Ethiopia and Kenya has reached double-digit figures and continues to rise.
These rises are not inevitable. Uganda has brought its estimated prevalence rate down to around 5% from a peak of close to 14% in the early 1990s with strong prevention campaigns, and there are encouraging signs that Zambia's epidemic may be following the course charted by Uganda. Yet, even in these countries, the suffering generated by HIV infections acquired years ago continues to grow, and a falling prevalence rate usually indicates that a high number of deaths have already occurred.
Asia and the Pacific
The diversity of the AIDS epidemic is even greater in Asia than in Africa. The epidemic here appears to be of more recent origin, and many Asian countries lack accurate systems for monitoring the spread of HIV. Half of the world's population lives in Asia, so even small differences in the absolute numbers of people infected, can make huge differences in the infection rates.
Around 1.2 million people in Asia and the Pacific acquired HIV in 2004, bringing the number of people living with HIV to an estimated 8.2 million. A further 540,000 people are
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