Aids and drugs

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AIDS AND DRUGS


Made by: aiste Stragyte and Deimante Butkute


When AIDS first emerged as a disease over twenty years ago, few people could have predicted how the epidemic would evolve, and fewer still could have described with any certainty the best ways of combating it. Now, in the year 2002, it is known from experience that AIDS can devastate whole regions, knock decades off national development, widen the gulf between rich and poor nations and push already-stigmatized groups closer to the margins of society.
Just as clearly, experience shows that the right approaches, applied quickly enough with courage and resolve, can and do result in lower HIV infection rates and less suffering for those affected by the epidemic. An ever growing AIDS epidemic is not inevitable; yet, unless action against the epidemic is scaled up drastically, the damage already done will seem minor compared with what lies ahead. This may sound dramatic, but it is hard to play down the effects of a disease that stands to kill more than half of the young adults in the countries where it has its firmest hold.
Already, 21.8 million people around the world have died of AIDS, 4.3 million of them children, by the end of 2001. Nearly twice that many - 42 million - are now living with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, and most of these are likely to die over the next decade or so. The most recent UNAIDS/WHO estimates show that, in 2002 alone, 5 million people were newly infected with HIV.
Africa
The African countries south of the Sahara have some of the best HIV surveillance systems in the world. They show that the estimated number of newly infected adults and children in Africa reached 3.5 million by the end of 2002. As the rate of HIV infection in the general population rises, the same patterns of sexual risk result in more new infections simply because the chances of encountering an infected partner become higher.
Altogether, there are now 16 countries in Africa in which more than one-tenth of the adult population aged 15-49 is infected with HIV. In seven countries, all in the southern cone of the continent, at least one adult in five is living with the virus. In Botswana, a shocking 38.8% of adults are now infected with HIV, while in South Africa, 20.1% are infected, up from 12.9% just three years ago. With a total of 5 million infected people, South Africa has the largest number of people living with HIV/AIDS in the world.
Whilst West Africa is relatively less affected by HIV infection, the prevalence rates in some large countries are creeping up. Cōte d_Ivoire is already among the 15 worst affected countries in the world; in Nigeria over 5% of adults have HIV but the prevalence rate in other West African countries...