U.N. envoy warns of rising AIDS rates in Asia
Ahead of the release next month of an annual U.N. report on HIV/AIDS, the world organization's special envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa yesterday warned that the disease is spreading at an alarming rate in Asia and making serious gains in the former Soviet states.
Addressing the Canadian Nurses Association in Newfoundland, Stephen Lewis said the epicenter of HIV/AIDS was shifting to China and India, where it has the potential to reach new proportions.
"It's a madness that we have allowed this to continue," said Lewis, a former Canadian ambassador to the United Nations.
The disease was establishing footholds in Brazil, Peru and Mexico and rising in the Caribbean, Lewis said, while Russia and the neighboring Commonwealth of Independent States were witnessing worrisome increases in prevalence.
"In Russia, you have a kind of diabolic combination of injection drug use and heterosexual activity which, when taken together, appear to cause a sudden rise in the prevalence rates," he said.
Stephen said the annual report of the Joint U.N. Program on HIV/AIDS, to be released next month, would show that "despite all of the rhetorical excesses in the world we haven't been able to improve the situation of women," who suffer disproportionately as a result of the disease (Canadian Press, June 22).