A report by the United Nations says that the global H-I-V/AIDS epidemic continues to spread. According to the U-N, more than thirty-nine-million people around the world are living with either H-I-V or AIDS. In the past year, nearly three-million people have died and more than four-million new infections have been reported.
Anders Nordstrom, a physician and acting director-general of U-N's World Health Organization, says, "It is imperative that we continue to increase investment in both H-I-V prevention and treatment services to reduce unnecessary deaths and illness from this disease." Dr. Nordstrom says, "In sub-Saharan Africa, the worst affected region, life expectancy at birth is now just forty-seven years, which is thirty years less than most high-income countries."
The U-N report points out that prevention programs focusing on those most at risk of H-I-V infection are having some success. It says that campaigns promoting abstinence, the use of condoms, and fewer sexual partners have lowered infection rates in Botswana, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe.
In 2003, the U.S. launched President Bush’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. The five-year, fifteen billion dollar initiative is the largest public health initiative in history dedicated to a single disease. In partnership with host nations, the U.S. currently supports antiretroviral treatment for more than five-hundred-sixty-thousand men, women and children through bilateral programs in fifteen of the most afflicted countries in Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean.
More than thirteen million people worldwide have benefited from U.S.-supported counseling and testing services. And nearly three million people have benefited from U.S. supported care services, this figure includes assistance to over one-million-two-hundred-thousand orphans and vulnerable children.
President Bush says, "H-I-V/AIDS is a global health crisis":
"At the start of this century, AIDS causes suffering from remote villages of Africa to the heart of America's big cities. This danger is multiplied by indifference and complacency."
The significant challenges caused by H-I-V/AIDS, says Mr. Bush, "will be overcome by compassion, honesty, and decisive action."
The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.