Africa: AIDS, New UN Updates, 12/04/00

Africa: AIDS, New UN Updates, 12/04/00

Africa: AIDS, New UN Updates Date distributed (ymd): 001204 Document reposted by APIC

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Region: Continent-Wide Issue Areas: +economy/development+ Summary Contents: This posting contains three new statements from UNAIDS on HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa, where the UN agency estimated 2.4 million people dead from AIDS in 2000, with some 3.8 newly infected. The statements include a joint UNAIDS/WHO press release, an updated fact sheet, and a press release on Uganda's successes against the pandemic. Another posting sent out today includes statements from the Economic Commission for Africa's African Development Forum currently under way in Addis Ababa.

Many other groups have released new reports on HIV/AIDS and Africa in the last week, including: the Africa-America Institute (, the Global Treatment Access Campaign (, Doctors without Borders (, and the International Labour Organization (

For additional sources and earlier documents see

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Catastrophic impact could be substantially reduced with a relatively modest contribution from developed nations

For additional information and the World AIDS Day Press kit please visit the UNAIDS web site at

Berlin, 28 November 2000 - New figures released today show an estimated 3.8 million people became infected with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa during the year, bringing the total number of people living with HIV or AIDS in the region to 25.3 million, up nearly a million from last year's figure. At the same time, 2.4 million people died in Africa of AIDS this year, up from 2.2 million in 1999, according to AIDS Epidemic Update: December 2000, released today by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

"The AIDS situation in Africa is catastrophic," said Dr Peter Piot, Executive Director of UNAIDS, "and sub-Saharan Africa continues to head the list as the world's most affected region. One of the greatest causes for concern is that over the next few years, the epidemic is bound to get worse before it gets better. A relatively modest contribution - US$3 billion - would do something to turn this situation around. This is a fraction of the US$52 billion spent annually in the US on obesity."

Experts assessing the epidemic have concluded that additional funds of US$3 billion would go a substantial way towards coping with the epidemic, at least in sub-Saharan Africa. It is estimated that US$ 1.5 billion are needed for prevention efforts, and the other half for basic care of those already infected.

"The region faces a triple challenge: providing care for the growing population of people infected with HIV, bringing down new infections through more effective prevention, and coping with the impact of 17 million deaths on the continent," Dr Piot said.

Despite the number of new infections, certain parts of sub-Saharan Africa are showing stable or reduced infection rates. The continent registered 3.8 million new infections in 2000, compared with 4 million in 1999.

"If HIV infections start to explode in relatively less affected countries, the annual number of new infections in the region could start rising again," warned Dr Gro Harlem Brundtland, Director General of the World Health Organization.

The report says the fall or stabilization of new infections may be due to two factors. First, effective prevention programmes in countries like Uganda have brought down national infection rates. Second, with over one in four adults already infected in some countries, there are relatively fewer people still likely to become infected, particularly within high-risk or vulnerable population groups.

In the most affected countries, AIDS is crippling national economies and undermining businesses. In South Africa, one of Africa's strongest economies, the epidemic may cut Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 17% by 2010 and wipe US$ 22 billion off the national economy. In Bostwana, the African country with the highest GDP but also the world's highest HIV rate, the government budget will be cut by 20% over the next decade because of AIDS and the poorest households will suffer a 13% reduction in income.

AIDS is also affecting African business. Companies are losing productivity and spending more on hiring and retraining as their workforces fall ill. Firms are also paying more for insurance and medical care.

The UNAIDS/WHO report also reveals up-to-date figures for parts of Africa where there has been little information about HIV until now. In Northern Africa, new evidence suggests infections are on the rise. In southern Algeria, local studies show around 1% of pregnant women attending antenatal clinics are HIV-infected. In Sudan, HIV is spreading among the general population, both in the north and the south of the country.


For more information, please contact Anne Winter, UNAIDS, Geneva, (+41 22) 791 4577, Dominique de Santis, UNAIDS, Geneva, (+41 22) 791 4509 or Andrew Shih, UNAIDS, New York, (+ 1 212) 584 5024. You may also visit the UNAIDS Home Page on the Internet for more information about the programme (


UNAIDS Fact Sheet: HIV/AIDS in Africa

For the first time there are signs that HIV incidence may have stabilized in sub-Saharan Africa. First, effective prevention has helped reduce infection rates and second, with over one in four adults al- ready infected in some countries, fewer people are still likely to become infected. New infections in 2000 totalled an estimated 3.8 million, compared with 4 million in 1999. However, this may change if rates go up in countries where they are still relatively low.

* The total number of Africans living with HIV or AIDS is now 25.3 million. In 8 African countries, at least 15% of adults are infected.

In these countries, AIDS will claim the lives of around a third of today's 15-year-olds in Africa.

* During 2000, millions of Africans infected in earlier years began falling ill, and 2.4 million people died of HIV-related causes, compared with 2.3 million in 1999.

* Africa is home to nearly 70% of adults and 80% of children living with HIV in the world, and has buried three-quarters of the more than 20 million worldwide who have died of AIDS since the epidemic began.

* Infection rates in young African women are far higher than in young men, with rates in teenage girls in some countries five times higher than in teenage boys. Among young people in their early 20s, the rates were three times higher in women. In Africa, women's peak infection rates occur at earlier ages than men's. This helps explain why there are an estimated 12 women living with HIV for every 10 men in this region.

* A recent study estimates that in 1997, public health spending for AIDS alone already exceeded 2% of gross domestic product (GDP) in 7 of 16 African countries sampled - a staggering figure in nations where total health spending accounts for 3-5% of GDP.

* Studies on economic impact have estimated that in South Africa, GDP is expected to be 17% for 2010 lower than it would have been without AIDS. It will also wipe out US$ 22 billion from the economy. In Bot- swana, AIDS will slice 20% off the government budget and reduce income for the poorest by 13%.

* In Botswana, a shocking 35.8% of adults are now infected with HIV, while in South Africa, 19.9% are infected, up from 12.9% just two years ago. The adult HIV prevalence rate in Botswana has more than tripled since 1992, when it was an estimated 10%.

* In Botswana, life expectancy at birth is now estimated to be 44 years instead of 69 without AIDS. In Zimbabwe, life expectancy is 43 instead of 65.

* With a total of 4.2 million infected people, South Africa has the largest number of people living with HIV/AIDS in the world, as well as one of the world's fastest-growing epidemics. Already, 1 in 4 South African women between ages 20 and 29 are infected with the virus.

* More than 1 in 4 adults living in Zambian cities are HIV-positive, and more than 1 in 7 Zambian adults are infected in the country's rural areas.

* On the other hand, the percentage of pregnant girls aged 15-19 infected with HIV in the capital, Lusaka, has on average dropped by almost half in the last six years. The percentage of unmarried women who were sexually active fell from 52% to 35% between 1990 and 1996.

* A study in Zambia showed that in one hospital, deaths among health care workers increased 13-fold over the 10-year period from 1980 to 1990, largely because of HIV.

* West Africa is relatively less affected, with prevalence rates of under 2% in some countries. However, Cote d'Ivoire is already among the 15 worst-affected countries in the world. In Nigeria, by far the most populous country in sub-Saharan Africa, over 2.7 million people are infected with HIV.

* By the year 2010, crude death rates in Cameroon will have more than doubled as a result of HIV/AIDS. An estimated 340,000 people in Ghana are currently living with HIV.

* In North Africa, there is insufficient data but localized studies in southern Algeria show rates of around 1% in pregnant women attending antenatal clinics. Surveillance sites in both northern and south ern Sudan indicate that HIV is spreading among the general population. In North Africa and the Middle East, there were some 80,000 new infections in the region in 2000.

* Infection rates in East Africa, once the highest on the continent, hover above those in West Africa but have been exceeded by the rates now being seen in the southern cone.

* The prevalence rate among adults in Ethiopia and Kenya has reached double-digit figures and continues to rise.

* Through strong prevention programmes, Uganda has brought its estimated prevalence rate down to around 8% in 1999 from a peak of close to 14% in the early 1990s. HIV prevalence among 13-19-year-old girls has fallen significantly over an eight-year period, while the rate in teenage boys - always much lower because boys are less likely than girls to have partners in the older, more heavily infected age groups - has remained roughly stable. The percentage of teenage girls who had ever used a condom tripled between 1994 and 1997.

* HIV-positive patients have occupied 39% of the beds in Kenyatta National Hospital in Nairobi, Kenya, and 70% of the beds in the Prince Regent Hospital in Bujumbura, Burundi.

December 2000 UNAIDS


Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS)

For Immediate Release

1 December 2000

Contact: Richard Delate, (+27 12) 338 5294,


RAKAI, Uganda (1 December 2000) - The AIDS epidemic can be turned around when effort is sustained and measures are taken well in advance, according to Peter Piot, Executive Director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS).

"Uganda was one of the first countries in Africa to recognize the threat posed by AIDS to development. It understood early on the importance of long-term efforts in both prevention and care," said Dr Piot, visiting Uganda on the occasion of World AIDS Day. "AIDS is a long-term emergency and commitments to slowing the epidemic require renewal over decades. As Uganda has shown, there are no short-cuts to AIDS. The sooner efforts start, the better the chances of success."

Dr Piot said broad social mobilization was essential to the response to AIDS. "This is not a question of government action in isolation but a question of mass, sustained action. Every church, every village, every association needs to be involved in this epidemic because every church and every village has been touched by it." He was speaking at a major World AIDS Day event organized by the Uganda AIDS Commission in collaboration with the UN Theme Group on HIV/AIDS in Uganda, an inter-agency working group on AIDS.

In Uganda, all sectors of society were encouraged to take action against AIDS and as a result, Ugandan HIV figures among certain populations fell significantly.

"In Uganda, we have seen major success. The rate of HIV infection among young girls 13 to 19 fell significantly over an eight-year period. Among teenage boys - always much lower because boys are less likely than girls to have partners in the older, more heavily infected age groups - the rate has remained roughly stable," said Michel Sidibe, UNICEF Representative and Chair of the UN Theme Group. An increase in the age of first sexual experience, fewer partners, and increased condom use have all contributed to this.

"Efforts are now being made in Uganda to address HIV/AIDS at district level to reinforce demands from communities and families for better information and care as well as to build their capacity to respond to the epidemic. Uganda's decentralized system makes promoting action at the district level essential," Mr Sidibe said.

Significant progress in both prevention and care are crucial to reversing the epidemic, and neither can be seen in isolation. Both prevention and care share a number of core objectives, such as encouraging openness, involving people with AIDS, and supporting voluntary counselling and testing.

The emerging care agenda across the globe takes a broad-based approach. All drugs need to be affordable, but they also need to be delivered safely and in a way that improves the chances of therapeutic success. So drug supply and distribution must be sustainable, and equal attention is required across the total continuum of care - from home based to hospital, from treatment of infections to palliative care.

The Ugandan Ministry of Health is now developing a plan to increase access to the essential care package for people living with HIV/AIDS. Among other interventions, such a package would include providing voluntary counselling and testing, psycho-social support for people with HIV/AIDS and their families, and improved access to antiretroviral drugs and to medicines to prevent and treat opportunistic infections. ...


Message-Id: <> From: "APIC" <> Date: Mon, 4 Dec 2000 20:16:26 -0500 Subject: Africa: AIDS, New UN Updates

Editor: Ali B. Ali-Dinar

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