Tuesday, April 11, 2006

HIV - begining of the end!

Once more lack of good statistics has kept us sadder than needed. Accumulating data indicate that the global HIV epidemic has passed the peak. A new study form India shows that HIV infection rates remains low in the north and DECRESES IN THE SOUTH (Lancet April 08, http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet).
This years data from China also show stable rate of new infections. It seems as there will be a limited HIV epidemic in Asia. And HIV infection rates fall in most countries in Africa. The best data source for the global HIV epidemic is still the US Census Bureau. http://www.census.gov/ipc/www/hivaids.html
Although the percentage of HIV infected adults started to fall only in recent years new analysis indicate that the proportion of newly infected started to fall many years ago. Even in South Africa the proportion newly infected decreased several years ago, BUT has now reached a plateau on a very high level. This is interpreted as a sign that major changes in sexual behavior is yet to occur in South Africa. The head of Sida´s regional HIV office in Africa, Anita Sandström, notes in the newsletter EyesoAIDS that HIV occurrence varies widely within Africa. http://www.sida.se/shared/jsp/download.jsp?f=EyesOnAIDS.pdf&a=19550
From a fraction of a percent in Arabic North Africa, to 1-5 % in West Africa and above 30% in Southern Africa. With frustration she states that research has done little to tell why. World Health Organization failed to put 3 million on HIV drugs by the end of 2005, but in spite of its focus on medical treatment, the prevention has worked in silence. The horrendous HIV epidemic has reached the end of its beginning, and maybe even the beginning of the end..