At a recent conference of the International AIDS Society in Toronto the full spectrum of the disease was covered: science, community, activism, and people with AIDS.
News Canada data released before the conference suggests that HIV infection remains a serious problem. There were somewhere between 2,300 and 4,500 new cases of HIV in Canada. The numbers are up from the estimated 2,100-4,000 cases that came up in 2002.
There is one statistic that can be a source of hope: the number of deaths from the infection has shown a steep decline in the mid-90’s. This effect is largely due to the discovery and application of three-drug antiretroviral therapy. The widespread use of this therapy has also reduced the viral load, and as a result infectiousness may be reduced.
UBC epidemiologist Dr. Evan Wood sees the encouraging development, but he emphatically spoke of the horrendous effect of AIDS. He stated, ” HIV remains the biggest threat to humanity globally.” He feels that the threat of terrorism pales in comparison to the carnage HIV results in every day. In this light it is short sighted and non-supportive of Canada’s PM, not to appear at this conference, as he had other commitments.
This year also marks the 25th anniversary of AIDS’ discovery, but it is known that the disease was ravaging Africa at least 25 years before it first appeared in the West.
The diagnosis of HIV infection does no longer sound like a death sentence. Things have been improving, but not fast enough, says Dr. Wood. Also one of the speakers, Bill Gates, spoke against naïve insistence on abstinence as a primary weapon in the battle against AIDS.
Dr. Wood shared this sentiment. He stated that while the whole idea is well intended, sexuality is part of normal human behavior, and everybody knows that abstinence cannot exist forever.
More information about AIDS: http://nethealthbook.com/infectious-disease/sexually-transmitted-disease/aids-introduction/
Reference: National Review of Medicine, August 30,2006, page 14
Last edited November 1, 2014