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Message no. 1
From: Tony Rabiola argent1@****.com
Subject: Fw: [BLUE PLANET] - Scary News
Date: Wed, 28 Jun 2000 22:31:20 -0500
Thought some might be interested in this as an analogy for the
upcoming VITAS epidemics.

"What fools these mortals be...."

> .N.: Worst of AIDS Epidemic Is Still Ahead
> .c The Associated Press
> GENEVA (June 27) - AIDS has killed 19 million people worldwide,
but the worst
> is yet to come, the United Nations predicted Tuesday: the
disease is expected
> to wipe out half the teen-agers in some African nations,
> economies and societies.
> ''There is a whole generation which is being taken out,'' said
Peter Piot,
> head of the U.N. Joint Program on HIV/AIDS. He said vulnerable
countries in
> Asia, Eastern Europe and the Caribbean risk a similar
catastrophe unless they
> act now to control infection rates.
> In its 135-page report released Tuesday, UNAIDS estimates:
> -The virus has killed 19 million people worldwide, up from 16.3
million at
> the end of 1998. It has infected 34 million more, including 5.4
million last
> year alone.
> -More than 13 million children have been orphaned by AIDS.
> -In 16 sub-Saharan African countries, more than one-tenth of
the population
> ages 15-49 carries the Human Immunodeficiency Virus, or HIV.
> -In seven of those countries, at least one-fifth of the
population is
> infected.
> One of the countries where 20 percent of the population is
infected is South
> Africa, which has 4.2 million people who are HIV positive - the
> single national total. The southern African nation of Botswana
has the worst
> rate, with more than one in three adults infected. That is the
equivalent of
> 90 million people out of the U.S. population of 270 million.
> ''The probability that you die from AIDS when you are 15 today
is over 50
> percent in these countries,'' Piot told a press conference.
> ''We are going into societies where there are more people in
their 60s and
> 70s than there are in their 40s and 30s,'' he said. ''This is
unheard of.''
> With dwindling numbers of economically active adults left to
support the rest
> of the population, the impact on poor African nations is
> Agricultural production in nations like Zimbabwe, where 2,000
people die each
> week of AIDS, is falling. Businesses are going bankrupt because
of the deaths
> of skilled, educated staff members, according to the report.
> Hopes of better education are also in tatters. The number of
new teachers
> trained in Zambia is just keeping pace with the number felled
by AIDS.
> Children are leaving school because they are orphaned or forced
to work to
> support their families.
> Hospitals are overwhelmed by AIDS patients. Many have
inadequate supplies of
> even basic antibiotics to fight the pneumonia, tuberculosis or
mouth fungus
> that accompany AIDS, let alone the sophisticated drugs which
have eased
> suffering in rich countries, the report said.
> Denial continues to be a problem. The report cited a 1999
survey of 72 minors
> orphaned by AIDS in a hard-hit Kenyan community:
> Although all knew of the disease, none of them believed their
parents had
> died of it. Most thought witchcraft or a curse was to blame.
> Piot said one of the reasons for the explosion of cases in
southern Africa is
> the legacy of apartheid, which separated men from their
families in rural
> areas and forced them to work in towns, with only prostitutes
for relief. But
> he said governments were also to blame for ignoring the problem
for too long.
> ''What is happening in southern Africa should be a lesson for
countries today
> which don't have a big problem yet,'' he said. ''I'm thinking
of Asia, I'm
> thinking of eastern Europe, I'm thinking of the Caribbean.''
> About $4 billion is needed annually for prevention and
education programs to
> turn the tide, Piot said. He called for debt-relief programs
for poor
> countries.
> Sandra Thurman, director of President Clinton's White House
Office on AIDS
> policy, said the report urgently underscores the need for
government leaders
> to face the crisis head on.
> ''It will take the engagement of all sectors of all societies
if we want to
> win the battle against AIDS,'' Thurman said in a statement from
> Although Asia has relatively low infection rates overall, there
are fears
> that could change because of the density of its population.
Some 0.7 percent
> of the Indian population is HIV-positive, or 3.7 million people
overall. The
> disease has so far been largely confined to drug addicts.
> Infections in the former Soviet bloc are soaring because of
drug addiction.
> Piot said the number of new HIV cases in Moscow last year far
outstripped all
> previous years combined. And the disease is proliferating in
> countries like Haiti and Barbados because people have multiple
> partners from an early age.
> Despite the gloom of the report, Piot said there are signs of
> Uganda, which used to be the worst-affected country, has slowed
> infections thanks to strong prevention campaigns and increased
condom use.
> Zambia is following suit.
> In Washington on Tuesday, the Peace Corps announced a worldwide
campaign to
> push similar measures - training its 2,400 volunteers in Africa
in preventive
> techniques and forming a 200-member ''crisis corps'' to help
> communities.
> ''There is no option for any organization working in
development other than
> to play a role in helping these countries confront the HIV-AIDS
> Peace Corps Director Mark Schneider said.
> Cambodia, which has the highest rate of infection in Asia at
4.4 percent, is
> copying Thailand's successful campaign of promoting condom use.
And Brazil's
> policy of prevention coupled with locally produced alternatives
to high-cost
> anti-AIDS drugs has halved the number of deaths and led to huge
savings in
> hospital bills, the report said.
> ''In the West and in Europe, the impact of treatment has been
> Piot said. ''Mortality has really collapsed. There is a longer
and better
> life for people with AIDS.''
> Ironically, the report cited studies from Australia and San
Francisco showing
> that the very success of AIDS therapies has encouraged a
revival in risky
> behavior, with growing numbers of young homosexual men having
> intercourse and multiple partners.
> AP-NY-06-27-00 2020EDT
> Copyright 2000 The Associated Press.
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