U.N. Special Adviser on HIV/AIDS Criticizes National Intelligence Council’s Predictions on India’s HIV/AIDS Epidemic
Nafis Sadik, special adviser on HIV/AIDS to U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, speaking to reporters in New Delhi, India, on Saturday said that the U.S. National Intelligence Council report released last month stating that the number of people with HIV/AIDS in India could rise to 25 million by 2010 should be "taken with 'a big pinch of salt,'" the Hindu reports. Sadik criticized the report because it did not take into account the "various measures" in place to curb the HIV/AIDS epidemic in India and added that the report was therefore "totally off the mark" in its estimates. According to Sadik, UNAIDS is in "total agreement" with the Indian government regarding the country's current estimate that four million Indians are HIV-positive (Hindu, 11/16).
Actor Richard Gere Calls for Support of Asia's Fight Against HIV/AIDS
In related news, actor Richard Gere, who has been "campaigning widely" to prevent the spread of HIV in India, on Friday in an interview with the BBC's World Service encouraged Western nations to do more to prevent the spread of the virus in Asia. Gere said that both the United States and African nations were not "seriou[s] enough" about HIV/AIDS at first and could have curbed the epidemic sooner, adding that he did not want Indians to "go through that same thing" (AP/Edmonton Journal, 11/17). Gere highlighted the importance of donations from the United States and from Microsoft CEO Bill Gates to help fight the spread of HIV in India but said that more donations are needed. "Lack of resources mitigates anyone's seriousness," he said, adding that the Chinese government must also step up efforts to avoid an "explo[sion]" of HIV/AIDS cases there (AP/Canadian Press, 11/16). The Gere Foundation India Trust last week announced a partnership with the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation and designer Parmesh Godrej to produce an Indian fundraising event in Mumbai, India, aimed at increasing awareness of the Indian HIV/AIDS epidemic and the "urgent need" for programs to prevent vertical HIV transmission (Gere Foundation release, 11/14).
San Francisco Chronicle Examines Spread of HIV/AIDS in Asia
The San Francisco Chronicle yesterday as part of an occasional series ran three articles on HIV/AIDS in Asia. Each of the following articles is available online.
- "AIDS Menace Bears Down on Asia" (Russell, San Francisco Chronicle, 11/17).
- "Women's Low Status Spreads HIV in India" (Dhanvant Shanghvi, San Francisco Chronicle, 11/17).
- "Fear on the Front Line in India: AIDS Prevention Workers Say Police Harass Them as Crisis Spirals" (Terzieff, San Francisco Chronicle, 11/17).