HIV/AIDS: both a health problem and a societal virus

Addis Ababa- Ethiopia (PANA) -- At the ongoing OAU-Civil Society conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia a guest speaker Wednesday asserted that the HIV/AIDS pandemic was not simply a health problem but also an obstacle to economic development and social advancement.
Abdul Mohammed, Chairman of the Board of the Inter Africa Group who spoke on The Challenge of HIV/AIDS in Africa as a war the continent cannot afford to lose, cited worrying statistics on the scourge in Africa.
The overwhelming majority of women and children affected by HIV/AIDS in the world live in sub-Saharan Africa, he said, pointing out that sub-Saharan Africa accounts for the bulk of infections, death and impact, even though only one in ten of the world's population live in the continent.
Abdul said seven out of l0 HIV infected adults, eight out of l0 AIDS orphans and 8 out of l0 people who have died of the disease are Africans.
He referred to HIV/AIDS as a disease that infects and kills human beings, adding that it was equally a societal disaster.
"It is a societal virus that strikes at our collective, social, economic and political fabric.
" The speaker enumerated priority challenges in the fight against the scourge, observing that "we cannot understand the crisis of HIV/AIDS in Africa today without looking at the truly shocking extent of poverty and inequality.
" Another priority raised in this connection was gender inequality, particularly the treatment of women.
The issue of youth in Africa was also highlighted as a crucial matter.
Abdul called for total social mobilization in the areas of prevention and care, with everyone having a role to play in the crucial and decisive battle against the killer disease.

13 june 2001 23:39:00

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