View Full Version : Aids Conference in Bangkok
07-13-2004, 08:49 AM
some seriously disturbing reports about the prevention/spread of AIDS especially how it is affecting people of color in the cities of the U.S. :(
searching for some of the drastic articles and facts
07-13-2004, 08:51 AM
Bush & Abstinence
Bush's affair with abstinence
By Clare Murphy
BBC News Online
The foreign forays of the Bush administration have rarely been without controversy, and the president's global Aids initiative is no exception.
Bush has thrown his weight behind the US abstinence movement
It may be the most expensive effort ever mounted by a government to fight Aids internationally, but the $15bn programme comes with strings attached - notably in diverting a third of the funds to faith based groups which preach abstinence.
Its critics see this provision as thinly disguised Christian moralism which is at best paternalistic, and at worst a sure-fire way of endangering lives by failing to place sufficient emphasis on condoms.
But to its proponents, pushing abstinence is the only way to tackle the disease in a continent like Africa where, as they see it, campaigns promoting the use of condoms have failed to halt the disease.
Home and Away
The US - in theory at least - practises what it preaches.
Under Mr Bush, who is himself a born-again Christian, a multi-million dollar fund has been established for abstinence-only education to teenagers.
Under the terms of the fund, schools and other groups may not use the money for classes which also promote the use of other forms of birth control.
If contraception is mentioned, it can only be done in reference to its likelihood to fail both in terms of protection from pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.
While disparaged by some, the decision to sponsor such education has on the whole prompted little controversy in the US, and indeed has been embraced by social conservatives - a key element of Mr Bush's electorate.
But efforts to export this policy - whose efficacy in preventing both pregnancy and disease is debatable - have proven more contentious.
There are doubts about the effectiveness of abstinence promotion
Some sexual health workers contend that trying to change sexual behaviour in African societies that have long been promiscuous and polygamous is a waste of time; people can however be persuaded to use condoms, they argue, rendering that approach an altogether more effective one.
Yet supporters of abstinence programmes have leapt on the example of Uganda as evidence that its promotion can work.
Uganda has waged one of the world's most successful battles against the spread of Aids - bringing the infection rate down from 30% in the 1990s to around 6% last year.
The country's president, who has been credited with the decline, puts it down to the government's so-called "ABC" method - which stresses abstinence first, followed by fidelity and lastly, condom use.
The Bush Aids fund does however also make provision for the distribution of condoms.
While some liberal Democrats fought against the abstinence-only approach when the fund was approved by Congress last year, many were satisfied that the legislation acknowledged that condoms had a role to play in preventing disease.
In fact, according to research cited in the New York Times, the US will supply more than 550 million condoms to the developing world this year.
"We've more than doubled condom availability during this [Bush] administration, primarily for HIV/Aids," said Dr E Anne Peterson of the Agency for International Development.
"Before it was a mix of family planning and Aids, but the big increase is for Aids prevention."
The paper noted that Mr Bush had done little to advertise this fact.
However the president prompted some controversy in recent weeks when he suggested at a rally in Pennsylvania that condoms could be an effective weapon in the fight against Aids.
Having reportedly upset some social conservatives, it would appear that when it comes to condoms, Mr Bush must step carefully. Especially in an election year.
07-13-2004, 08:55 AM
ny daily news (http://www.nydailynews.com/city_life/health/story/211785p-180638c.html)
The changing face of AIDS
HIV infection is extending its reach into newly
vulnerable segments of the city's population
By JORDAN LITE
DAILY NEWS HEALTH WRITER
Dr. Amy Justice studies AIDS and aging.
Chardelle Imani Lassiter was shocked to learn she was HIV-positive.
When Tom Sentell wanders into a room in his Brooklyn home and forgets why, he's hard-pressed to know whether his confusion is the product of AIDS-related dementia or run-of-the- mill aging.
"I go from one room to the other and I say, 'Why did I come in here?'" Sentell, 68, says with a chuckle. While younger patients might shrug off the memory lapse, "it becomes far more serious to an older person because we're not convinced that we're not getting Alzheimer's.
"It's just debilitating," he says. "AIDS mimics the aging process so it's actually a double whammy; you tend to age faster with AIDS than you normally would without it. It's difficult enough coping with the loss of power as you grow older without this secondary thing, which also contributesto lessening your power."
Twenty years ago, growing older with HIV was unthinkable. Now it's downright common: 57% of New York City's 84,807 HIV/AIDS patients are 40 or older; 25% are over 50.
At the same time, HIV has also become a disease of the young, particularly among black and Hispanic women and gay men just emerging from adolescence. HIV/AIDS is the leading cause of death in all New Yorkers ages 35-44, and officials are worried about an association between the useof crystal methamphetamine, unprotected sex and HIV among gay men.
Young gay men are also thought to be at increased risk because they tend to engage in more unprotected sex, sometimes with older men who have higher rates of the disease.
Minorities are feeling a disproportionate impact no matter their gender or sexual orientation: about 76% of all HIV infections in the city now affect blacks and Hispanics.
The disease's relentless march into every corner of society is a grave concern for New York experts attending next week's International AIDS Conference in Bangkok, As the epidemic matures, the concerns of long-time patients like Sentell are changing, and the vulnerabilities of the newest victims are emerging more prominently.
Scientists are just beginning to study AIDS and aging. It's a complicated endeavor because anti-AIDS drugs often cause many conditions commonly seen in older people, such as diabetes, heart disease and possibly cancer.
07-13-2004, 10:02 AM
BANGKOK, Thailand -- France accused the United States of "blackmail" tactics to pressure poor countries into ceding rights to make cheap generic HIV drugs, while the AIDS Conference issued a stirring call Monday to get more medicine to millions of needy in the developing world.
"A vicious terrorist is out there. It is not Osama bin Laden, it is AIDS," Hollywood actor Richard Gere told the conference. "The biggest threat to our livelihood, our happiness is AIDS."
A U.S. official denied the French allegation as "nonsense," while conference delegates lamented World Health Organization figures that show only about 7 percent of the 6 million people in poor countries who need antiretroviral treatment are getting it.
"All of us with the power and responsibility to make a difference, can only hang our heads in shame," said Jim Kim, WHO's AIDS director. "We know what we need to do. We know prevention and treatment must be accelerated together."
Since the last AIDS conference in Barcelona in 2002 generated optimism about the availability of new antiretroviral drugs, 6 million people have died of AIDS and 10 million people have become newly infected.
"By these measures of human life, the ones that really matter, we have failed. And we have failed miserably to do enough in the precious time that has passed since Barcelona," Kim said.
The number of people on treatment has doubled in the developing world to 440,000. U.N. officials hope to treat 3 million people there by 2005.
Cost of the drugs is a key issue. European and U.S. pharmaceutical giants make most of them, protected by patents and costing as much as $5,000 per person per year.
Some developing countries such as Thailand, India and Brazil are making cheap generic drugs but not enough to reach everybody. Some 38 million people are infected with HIV, mostly in poor countries: 25 million in sub-Saharan Africa and 7.2 million in Asia.
French officials accused the United States of pressuring poor countries to relinquish rights to make the generic drugs in return for free-trade agreements. In a written statement to the conference, President Jacques Chirac called that tactic "tantamount to blackmail."
France's global ambassador on AIDS, Mireille Guigaz, said Chirac's comments were not aimed at creating new tensions with the United States but were "a question between the United States and developing countries."
"The United States wants to put pressure on developing countries who try to stand up for their own industries," Guigaz said. "This is a problem."
World Trade Organization rules give developing countries the flexibility to ignore foreign patents and produce copies of expensive drugs in times of health crises. All WTO members including the United States have signed an agreement to respect that clause.
But there is nothing to prevent a country from imposing patent restrictions in a bilateral trade agreement, such as the one Washington is negotiating with Thailand.
A U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, called the French allegations "nonsense," and insisted that the trade agreements will be consistent with WTO rules that will allow poor countries to make generic drugs. "There really is no issue," he said.
Chirac also called on rich nations to raise donations to the 2 1/2-year-old U.N. Global Fund -- aimed primarily at fighting AIDS -- by $3 billion per year. Wealthy countries have committed only a fifth of the $3.5 billion the fund needs for next year, U.N. officials said.
Protesters demand more funding from G-8
A group of African protesters interrupted a French minister delivering Chirac's message to demand more AIDS funding from developed G-8 countries.
"Shame! Shame!" they chanted in harmony for nearly a minute. Activists at the venue also have splashed red paint on posters of the G-8 leaders.
Gere is among several celebrities -- also including actress Ashley Judd and senior African statesman Nelson Mandela -- at the 15th conference, which draws a mix of science and activism.
At the heart of the AIDS debate is how to control the spread of the virus.
Scientists and policy-makers at the venue have touted condoms as a trusted weapon in the effort, dismissing U.S. President George W. Bush's policy of abstinence as a setback in global efforts to control the pandemic.
Proponents say there is no better way to prevent HIV than by using condoms and giving clean syringes to intravenous drug users. Their philosophy is known as CNN, or Condoms, Needles, Negotiating Skills.
The Bush administration maintains that emphasizing condoms promotes promiscuity among the youth, and pushes a policy known as ABC -- Abstinence, Being Faithful and Condoms, in that order of priority.
Report: AIDS orphans number 15 million
Actor and AIDS activist Richard Gere said AIDS is a bigger threat than terrorism.
More than 3 million children in the world lost one or both parents to AIDS between 2001 and 2003 but governments have largely overlooked the plight of these orphans, U.N. and U.S. officials said Tuesday.
A focus on treatment and prevention of HIV in adults has left an "enormous gap" in funding for children orphaned by AIDS, who totaled 15 million worldwide by 2003, according to a report released by U.N. and U.S. agencies.
The report defines orphans as children under 18 who lost at least one parent.
"The orphan crisis is arguably the cruelest legacy of the AIDS pandemic," said Carol Bellamy, executive director of the U.N. Children's Fund, adding that the orphans are left vulnerable to discrimination, violence and exploitation.
The disease has hit children hardest in sub-Saharan Africa, which by 2010 could have as many as 17 million children who have lost at least one parent to AIDS, according to the report.
Elsewhere, the number of children orphaned by all causes has been declining, largely because of better health care, the report said. Were it not for HIV, the number of orphaned children would be falling worldwide.
UNICEF co-authored the report along with the Joint U.N. Program on HIV/AIDS and the U.S. Agency for International Development.
Activists and officials called for increased funding to help all orphans, who are more vulnerable than other children to HIV because they often do not get the education they need to help prevent the disease.
Dr. Paul Zeitz, executive director of Global AIDS Alliance, said children's groups have estimated a worldwide need of more than $10 billion a year to help orphans and vulnerable children.
"Life is really in our hands in terms of helping orphans and vulnerable children," said U.S. Congresswoman Barbara Lee of California.
07-13-2004, 12:19 PM
AIDS orphans to surge to 18 million in Africa by 2010, warns UN
Tue Jul 13,10:31 AM ET
BANGKOK (AFP) - AIDS (news - web sites) orphans in sub-Saharan Africa will top 18 million by 2010 and the pandemic threatens a "tidal wave" of death affecting children worldwide, the UN and US warned.
The number of children who have lost one or both parents to AIDS will surge by more than 50 percent from the current 12.3 million in the region worst ravaged by the AIDS pandemic, according to a joint report by the United Nations (news - web sites) AIDS agency, the children's agency UNICEF (news - web sites) and the US Agency for International Development (USAID).
In sub-Saharan Africa, "since 2000, 3.8 million children have lost one or both parents to AIDS, and by 2010, 18.4 million children -- more than one in three orphans -- will have lost parents to AIDS," stated the report titled "Children on the Brink 2004".
"The orphan crisis is arguably the cruellest legacy of this whole pandemic," UNICEF executive director Carol Bellamy told a briefing at the 15th and largest International AIDS Conference being held this week in Bangkok.
"A tidal wave of orphaning" is taking place in parts of Africa and other regions, particularly Asia, could see similar trends in the next few years as HIV (news - web sites)/AIDS seeps into huge populations there.
"Even slight upward trends in prevalence in countries like China, India and even Indonesia could lead to many more orphans," Bellamy said.
The number of AIDS orphans worldwide shot up from 11.5 million in 2001 to 15 million in 2003, she said.
"The worst may still be ahead of us," she said. "Far too many will die."
Twenty-eight percent of all orphans in sub-Saharan Africa are due to AIDS. That figure includes 78 percent in Zimbabwe, 60 percent in Zambia, and 26 percent in Nigeria.
Nigeria, the most populous African country, alone has 1.8 million AIDS orphans.
In the region's 11 worst-hit countries, one in seven children are orphans, and in five of those countries AIDS is the cause of parental death more than 50 percent of the time, the report said.
Orphaned children, Bellamy said, face the "onerous burden" of AIDS as they still suffer stigma and discrimination and are easy targets for violence and abuse.
Bellamy was joined in releasing the report by Kami, a talking puppet created by the Sesame Street Muppets in the United States.
Depicted as a five-year-old HIV-positive African girl whose parents died of AIDS, Kami was introduced to raise awareness of AIDS issues among children.
Anne Peterson, USAID's assistant administrator for global health, warned that AIDS orphans are not receiving the attention and treatment that would help them cope.
"Global efforts are only reaching a small fraction of those in need," she said.
By the end of 2003, only 17 countries with generalized AIDS epidemics reported having a national policy for orphans and vulnerable children, Peterson said.
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