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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?


Join The Conversation
hartsfull hartsfull 9 years
:oops: Liberty! "Dr. Kevin de Cock, the head" how HARD was it for you to write that??? :rotfl:
em113 em113 9 years
AIDS isn't still a problem, it's much bigger than that, it's still a pandemic! Money is not being wasted, there simply isn't enough of it. It's completely underfunded. Should money go towards male circumcision, absolutely. Should it go to reforming healthcare, 1000x yes, g-d knows Africa needs more healthcare workers, but should it be at the expense of things already being funded, NO!
soulight soulight 9 years
Obviously things need to change if the current method isn't working. Like a previous poster said if some of the spread is a result of rape or forced intercourse, then the appeall for people to limit the number of partners become moot. The circumcision idea needs to be refined and taught to people because education is very important and it seems like ignorancce is what's fueling this fire.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 9 years
Is that supposed to be the STD fairy coming to remind them to use a condom?
Eilonwy Eilonwy 9 years
I agree with stephley. We should hardly let our guard down. Decrease is heartening, but it's comparative: AIDS is still a significant, significant problem, that needs to be confronted on all fronts (targeted high-risk areas, sweeping broad intervention etc).
kastarte2 kastarte2 9 years
So it made reduce how many males contract the disease so therefore the idea has merit. I don't, however, think we're going to see grown men lining up to get optional penis surgery. Just a thought.
stephley stephley 9 years
This is from National Geographic in 2005: The reason for the increased risk of infection, experts say, is because the foreskin of the penis is susceptible to scratches and tears during intercourse. In addition, the foreskin contains a high density of Langerhans cells, which are especially vulnerable to HIV.
em1282 em1282 9 years
kastarte2--good question. I think I remember reading something a while back in one of my classes about how the foreskin is a lot more susceptible to enduring trauma during sex and that may lead to more "open" wounds and therefore increased risk of getting HIV during intercourse. I don't really think there's too much of a hardcore correlation though, but I could be wrong.
kastarte2 kastarte2 9 years
Anybody want to offer a theory as to why they think male circumcision will put a dent in the AIDS epidemic in Africa? AIDS doesn't take up residence under the foreskin just waiting for it's next victim. It's in the bloodstream and other bodliy fluids. As for decreasing the number of sexual partners, many articles I've read about AIDS in Africa claim that many of the infected women are raped. It's not like you can decrease your number of partners when you don't choose to have sex in the first place. An improved health system is always a good idea but condom distrabution and HIV testing must remain.
stephley stephley 9 years
I'd stick with what's working - the minute people think the all clear's been sounded, they'll get careless.
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