U.N. Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa Says Epidemic is Affecting Areas Outside Sub-Saharan Africa
U.N. Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa Stephen Lewis on Monday said that the "epicenter" of the HIV/AIDS pandemic is shifting from Africa to India and China, CP/Canada.com reports. Lewis, who was speaking at the Canadian Nurses Association's annual convention, also said that the disease is "on the rise" in the Caribbean with "pockets of infection" in Brazil, Mexico and Peru. UNAIDS next month plans to release its annual report on the epidemic, which will say that Russia and neighboring countries have the "most dramatic increase[s]" in HIV prevalence, according to the CP/Canada.com. Lewis said, "In Russia, you have a kind of diabolic combination of injection drug use and heterosexual activity which, when taken together, appear to cause a sudden rise in the prevalence rates." He also said that although the UNAIDS report is "going to show that despite all of the rhetorical excesses in the world, we haven't been able to improve the situation of women."
Praise for Canadian Government
Lewis also lauded measures taken by the Canadian government to help combat HIV/AIDS in developing countries, including legislation approved earlier this year that would improve poor countries' access to less-expensive, generic antiretroviral drugs, CP/Canada.com reports (Moore, CP/Canada.com, 6/21). The measure (C-9) permits the government to order the override of patents to allow certain pharmaceutical manufacturers to produce and export generic drugs -- including antiretroviral drugs -- for use in developing countries. The Canadian government also has said it plans to double domestic spending on HIV/AIDS and increase its contribution to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria to more than $50 million for fiscal year 2005-2006 (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 5/13). CNA on Monday launched a five-year, $3 million effort to help South African nurses work together to fight the epidemic, according to the CP/Canada.com. Beginning next week, four CNA nurses will go to South Africa to provide training, according to June Webber, CNA's director of international policy and development, according to CP/Canada.com (CP/Canada.com, 6/21).