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Risk of Heterosexual Global AIDS Pandemic Decreased

The World Health Organization (WHO) has determined that the risk of a global AIDS pandemic among heterosexuals has decreased. Of course this assessment does not apply to Africa.

Dr. Kevin de Cock, the head of the WHO's department of HIV/Aids said:

It is very unlikely there will be a heterosexual epidemic in other countries. Ten years ago a lot of people were saying there would be a generalized epidemic in Asia – China was the big worry with its huge population. That doesn't look likely. But we have to be careful.

Certain areas are still at risk. In Russia, in 2006, 1 percent of the population was infected, the same number as South Africa in 1991, whose infection rate has now risen to 25 percent of the population. Yet, experts doubt that Russia will see the same dramatic rise.

Recent research claims that significant funding is being wasted in Africa on condom distribution, HIV testing, and vaccine research. Instead, some say, money should be spent on male circumcision, reducing the number of sexual partners, and improving health systems. Is it time to reassess the global AIDS initiative? Should we concentrate funds on high-risk locations, or continue a broad education campaign, which appears to be working in many places?


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