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HIV/AIDS: How to avoid Catastrophe (WSSD) Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by Charles Sendegeya, Uganda Aug 31, 2002
Health , Peace & Conflict   Opinions


Johannesburg, August (GYRP) – Who’s going to be there to talk about sustainability when AIDS has wiped out the population?

This was one of the challenges raised by the panellists during a press conference organised here on AIDS and Human Capacity at the World Summit on Sustainable Development.

Dr Peter Piot, the Executive Director of the joint United Nations programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) noted that sustainable development cannot be achieved if the AIDS epidemic is allowed to devastate human resources and capabilities.

“Quite simply, if you do not survive, you cannot develop,” he added in a statement. AIDS distorts labour markets, disrupts production and consumption and ultimately diminishes national wealth.

Some delegates have noted with concern that they do not feel HIV AIDS has been given due attention at the WSSD.

Dr Piot reiterated the need for political leaders to understand the consequences of the AIDS scourge.

HIV/AIDS has become an integral issue in all development programmes. The effects of the epidemic cannot be denied.

“Employers need to consider programmes for their workers and also for customers – because dead customers don’t buy,” Mechai Viravaidya, Chairman of the Population and Community Development Association of Thailand, stressed, provoking laughter in the conference room.
Today's young people are the AIDS generation. They have never known a world without HIV. Millions already have died. Yet the HIV/AIDS epidemic among youth remains largely invisible to adults and to young people themselves. Stopping HIV/AIDS requires comprehensive strategies that focus on youth.
Of the over 60 million people who have been infected with HIV in the past 20 years, about half became infected between the ages of 15 and 24. Today, an estimated 11.8 million young people are living with HIV/AIDS. Moreover, about half of all new adult infections are occurring among young people. In nearly 20 African countries 5% or more of women aged 15 to 24 are infected. Such statistics underscore the urgent need to address HIV/AIDS among youth.

Physical, psychological, and social attributes of adolescence make young people particularly vulnerable to HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Adolescents often are not able to comprehend fully the extent of their exposure to risk.

AIDS today is widely seen as a social crisis as well as a problem of individual behaviour. The AIDS epidemic is complex, and thus only a combination of approaches can succeed. It is increasingly clear, however, that youth must be at the centre of strategies to control HIV/AIDS.




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Khin yadanar | Jul 27th, 2020
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