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Fighting a killer

"Despite evidence that the prevention programs instituted some time ago are beginning to have an impact in some countries, the HIV/AIDS epidemic continues to grow. By 2005, the number of those infected had grown to more than 40 million, double the number in 1995. Previous success stories in Thailand and Uganda show potential to weaken as prevention programs have become less diligent. Globally, new infections among women, especially young woment, continued to outspace those among men, - a stark reminder that gender inequality and violence against women fuel the epidemic. Life-saving drugs to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV have not been available to the hundreds of thousands of infants who have become needlessly infected at birth or through breastfeeding in the last year. According to UNAIDS and WHO, stigma and discrimination, whether actual or feared, remain perhaps the most difficult obstacles to prevention of HIV.

A unified and global commitment to turning the tide on this disease is nonetheless building. This effort requires more resources and more effective use of resources devoted to research, prevention, care and treatment for those infected with and affected by the disease. Simultaneous and sustained expansion of prevention and treatment efforts are needed if the pace of the epidemic is to be slowed.

Top ten myths about AIDS. (15)