UNFPAState of World Population 2002
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HOME: STATE OF WORLD POPULATION 2002: HIV/AIDS and Poverty
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HIV/AIDS and Poverty

Overview
Devastating Impacts
Priorities for Action

Priorities for Action

The poor have little access to prevention services such as condoms or any form of treatment. Only about one in five people at risk for HIV have access to prevention information and services (19).

Fewer than 5 per cent of people who need them get anti-retroviral drugs (20). Action against the epidemic has been impeded by the slowness of leadership, at all levels, to recognize and admit the nature of the advancing crisis. The universal culture of silence that surrounds sexual behaviour has kept eyes averted and voices silenced.

In June 2001, a UN General Assembly Special Session on AIDS focused global attention on the crisis. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan used an African Summit on HIV/AIDS and Other Infectious Diseases, convened in Abuja, Nigeria, in April 2001, to issue a call for action and propose a Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. The aim of this fund is to increase support for AIDS and related malaria and tuberculosis programmes in developing countries from under $2 billion annually to $7-10 billion.

The Global Fund announced its first round of grants for treatment and prevention in April 2002, awarding a total of $378 million over two years to 40 programmes in 31 countries. This important advance also highlights the continuing failure of the international community to meet the needs of the developing world. Funds contributed in the first year fell painfully short of the target.

Effective strategies to turn back the epidemic involve a combination of treatment, education and prevention. Such strategies must go beyond medicine and health care and reach into the community. They call for close consultation with the people they seek to assist (21). Strong and committed leadership that leads by example as well as exhortation is a prime necessity.

The examples of imaginative, courageous local efforts in Senegal, Thailand and Uganda to mitigate the pandemic provide good news from around the world. Strong leadership can support and strengthen such community action.

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