Speaking with Action Against AIDS
A report from the Thirteenth International AIDS Conference.
July 19, 2000
A school without a teacher. A home with no parents. Thousands of communities in Africa, Asia, and other developing areas of the world face this outcome from the greatest development, socioeconomic, and health crisis in history: AIDS.Millions are infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS--roughly 50 million according to Dr. Gro Brundtland, Director-General of the World Health Organization. Hundreds of millions more are at risk for the virus itself and billions for the effects of AIDS on the family and society. Grim projections into the next 10 years of the number of AIDS orphans spawned by the AIDS crisis reach 44 million. AIDS is the number one killer in Africa and number four in the rest of the world.Gathered at the XIII International AIDS Conference in Durban, South Africa, more than 12,000 of the world's leading scientists, health care and social workers, government and community leaders ask themselves, "What more can we do?" Many begin plenary sessions and workshops stating, "I said this already eight years ago … "Despite the rally cry of the conference, "Break the Silence" (referring to the lingering stigma and inaction surrounding AIDS), the mood is somber. Little satisfies the thirst for a cure or easily administered and cheap treatment. Prevention remains the critical component to control of the epidemic.
Science breaks Silence
Bits of hope spring from the fact that in the developed world, AIDS may now be treated as a chronic disease among people and nations that can afford treatment and keep to a tight drug regimen. Drug combinations completely reduce detection of the virus in the body. But we know the virus does not disappear entirely. It merely hides and is able to change it's configuration to avoid detection ...