December 1 is World AIDS Day. To see some Manitoba events check here.
Though AIDS has been steadily on the decline in Canada since 1995, it is still at pandemic levels in many parts of the world. It may surprise you that the fastest growing infection rate is not in Sub-Saharan Africa but in the former U.S.S.R., States such as Russia, Ukraine and Belarus.
On the African front there has been some good new in the past year or two.
The 2010 UNAIDS Update reports that in some of the heaviest impacted countries like Nigeria, the number of new infections has plateaued. Others near the top of list, including Ethiopia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe have reduced their rates by more than 25 per cent.
Why the drop ?
Some of it may be just the regular ups and downs of a pandemic.
There has, though, been an increase in the availability of anti-retroviral drugs.
Also, practices such as monogamy, male circumcision and condom use (now Pope approved !) have also gained a foothold in some countries where they were once hard sells.
New treatments are showing promise for controlling the disease, though a cure or vaccine is still not in sight.
The numbers are still staggering. In many countries, most of a generation have been killed off by the disease.
There are 33 million people living with HIV - 2.5 million of them children. There are an estimated 16 million AIDS orphans in the world. Last year 1.8 million people died from the disease. (Source).
For a comprehensive list of reference links, recent publications and media articles see the ICID's website.
Four Things You Need To Know About HIV
Forbes.com (Mitch2Maya blog) November 24, 2010
Searching for hope in the AIDS battle with Stephen Lewis
The Globe and Mail, November 30, 2010