Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations
UNAIDS Pressing African Countries To Improve HIV/AIDS Prevention Programs, Accelerate Treatment
UNAIDS is pressing African countries to improve HIV/AIDS prevention programs and accelerate treatment efforts to HIV-positive people to fight the spread of the disease, which is "draining the resources of the world's poorest continent," Reuters reports. Richard Delate, a UNAIDS adviser for eastern and southern Africa, on Tuesday said that the number of Africans who died of AIDS-related causes increased from 2.1 million in 2002 to 2.3 million last year and the number of new HIV cases increased from 2.9 million in 2002 to 3.1 million last year. Delate said that it is "crucial" for African countries to focus on those who are not already HIV-positive to prevent the disease's spread, according to Reuters. "Those that have not been infected -- and they are by far the majority -- should be kept that way," Delate said, adding, "There should be an accelerated campaign of prevention, of asking people to stop risky sexual behavior, to use condoms, to do everything that will limit the possibility of infection." There are approximately 25.4 million people living with HIV/AIDS in Africa, and only 3% have access to antiretroviral drugs, according to Delate, Reuters reports. Some African governments do not have "coherent" policies to address the pandemic, and "inadequate resources and a failure of political will" have harmed efforts to fight the disease on the continent. However, with about $6 billion of funding from international donors to fight the disease, money is no longer "the biggest problem," according to Reuters. Delate said that only one in 10 people living in sub-Saharan Africa has access to voluntary HIV testing and that condom access is limited to about three per man per year, according to Reuters. Delate added that many countries need to work to reduce the stigma surrounding the disease that can prevent many people from being tested or seeking treatment (Chale, Reuters, 1/25).
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