Toronto Star Series Examines Challenges Facing G8 Summit, Including HIV/AIDS
The Toronto Star this week published a series of articles examining the challenges facing the Group of Eight industrialized nations, including HIV/AIDS. Leaders of G8 nations are scheduled to meet next week in Gleneagles, Scotland. Summaries of some of the articles appear below.
- "Averting disaster": HIV/AIDS in Africa is likely to be "the most urgent item on the agenda" at the G8 summit, the Star reports. The disease has undermined 30 to 40 years of the continent's postcolonial economic progress and has the potential to destroy entire countries if more is not done. "When you have the core of the labor force wiped out, then who's producing the goods?" Roy Culpeper -- president of the North-South Institute, an Ottawa-based think tank -- asked (Ross, Toronto Star, 6/25).
- "Swaziland: A land of AIDS and orphans": An estimated 70,000 orphans live in Swaziland, which has the highest HIV prevalence in the world, and that figure could grow to 120,000 by 2010. Many of the orphans are poor and prone to sexual abuse, making them vulnerable to HIV infection. Swazi officials have established more than 400 "neighborhood care points" nationwide, where orphans can receive food and other support. Authorities also have created a program that recruits responsible adults to act as mentors for children affected by AIDS (Toronto Star, 6/26).
- "A continent's best hope": In South Africa, government policies are impeding the delivery of antiretroviral drugs to people living with HIV/AIDS, unlike governments of other sub-Saharan Africa countries, which struggle to deliver treatment because they lack the resources or personnel. Only about 40,000 of the 700,000 HIV-positive people in South Africa who need antiretroviral treatment are receiving it (Ross, Toronto Star, 6/27).
- "India's deadly secret: HIV/AIDS explosion": With more than five million HIV-positive people, India could be facing a larger HIV/AIDS epidemic than any country in Africa, analysts and health workers say. According to the United Nations, 15.1 million people in the country will have died of AIDS-related causes by 2015, and the U.S. National Intelligence Council projects that 25 million people in the country will be HIV-positive by 2010. The country is at a "critical stage" and has a "historic window of opportunity" to curb the spread of the virus, the Star reports. However, global AIDS efforts are so focused on Africa that India "is not even on the radar screen," Ashok Alexander -- director of Avahan, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's five-year, $200 million program to fight HIV/AIDS in India -- said (Cohn, Toronto Star, 6/28).