UNAIDS Outlines Possible Courses of African HIV/AIDS Epidemic Over Next 20 Years
HIV will continue to spread unchecked in Africa if the pandemic is viewed as separate from its social, economic and political "roots," according to a brief issued on Tuesday in Ethiopia by UNAIDS, the Panafrican News Agency reports. The briefing came in advance of the release of a new UNAIDS publication, titled "AIDS in Africa: Three Scenarios to 2025," that is scheduled to be launched in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on Friday. In the report, the agency outlines three "plausible" scenarios of the African HIV/AIDS epidemic over the next 20 years based on the current actions of the global and African communities, according to the Panafrican News Agency. "Even with fluctuating aid, economic uncertainty and governance challenges, collectively, Africa can lay the foundation for future growth and development and reduce the incidence of HIV," UNAIDS said in the brief.
In the first scenario, UNAIDS details "tough choices" African leaders might make in order to implement measures that could curb the spread of HIV in the long term, even if those measures would create difficulty in the short term, the Panafrican News Agency reports. The HIV/AIDS epidemic would be viewed as part of the "crisis of underdevelopment," and, in this context, individual nations would take action with limited resources and "stagnant" development aid, according to the Panafrican News Agency. In the second scenario, which the agency called "traps and legacies," any efforts to curb the epidemic would be "thwarted" by an "underlying development malaise," the Panafrican News Agency reports. In this scenario, governments would put a "very strong emphasis" on HIV/AIDS, but the responses would be "fractured and short term," according to UNAIDS. In the final scenario, called "times of transition," the agency outlines a mobilization of national and international civil society that begins with HIV/AIDS advocates working for improved access to antiretroviral drug therapy and eventually leads to a "gradual broadening" of societal "concerns, skills and engagement," according to the Panafrican News Agency. If such societal transitions occur within the next generation, UNAIDS predicts that such changes could "dramatically" reduce the number of people living with HIV and "fundamentally alter the course of Africa, and the world, in the 21st century," the Panafrican News Agency reports (Panafrican News Agency, 3/1).