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article imageWe're Losing the Battle Against AIDS, Says US Top Advisor

By Michelle Duffy     Jul 23, 2007 in Health
This picture shows the face of a concerned Dr Fauci, the right hand man to President Bush, and his words were not good - he tells the US, we have no hope in beating the deadly virus
Dr Anthony Fauci, the director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, stood in front of a World AIDS conference in Sydney, Australia this week with a grave face. He said, bitterly that the world was losing its grip on the fight against the virus which was spreading faster than being actually treated.
Addressing the conference which welcomed the world's HIV virus experts, he said,
"For every one person that you put in therapy, six new people get infected. So we're losing that game, the numbers game."
According to earlier reports around three years ago, it was thought that less than 300,000 people in poorer, more affected countries in the world could be treated and were being helped by certain anti-retroviral medication that was successfully treating the virus.
However, the figure has reached a staggering 2.2 million since that time and the number is rising fast. So fast it seems that it simply cannot not be controlled. The number of patients being treated is being overwhelmed by new cases all the time in these poorer places.
Yet the western world is struggling to help. Dr Fauci tried to lift the spirits of the conference as he said,
" Although we are making major improvements in the access to drugs, clearly prevention must be addressed in a very forceful way. The proven prevention modalities are not accessible to any substantial proportion of the people who need them."
So far, in the developing world, only 15% of the population has access to sterile syringes and such contraceptives like condoms. A percentage that just simply is not good enough.
So far, the deadly virus has claimed 25 million people, and this figure will continue to rise unless those at risk are not educated enough.
Dr Brian Gazzard is the chairman of the British HIV Association who agreed with Dr Fauci. He said that there were areas of the world where the virus was running through the population faster than was actually known. He said,
"The HIV epidemic is essentially uncontrolled, uncontrolled in Africa, uncontrolled completely in Asia right now. Only a quarter of the people needing treatment were receiving it, meaning the other three-quarters would continue to spread the epidemic, which was still in its exponential growth stage."
All 5,000 who attended the conference from 130 countries around the world signed a declaration to boost HIV research and programmes of treatment particularly in the poorer countries where the death toll is spiralling out of control.
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