Mail & Guardian, 27 November 2002, Aids 'bringing social collapse'
Aids epidemic is causing the spiralling disintegration of some of the poorest
The UNAids report takes a more sombre tone than ever before as it lays out the increasing scale of the global epidemic which last year killed 3,1-million people, of whom 610 000 were children.
A further 5-million people were infected with the deadly virus in 2002, bringing the world total living with HIV to 42-million. Most of the 29,4-million with HIV in sub-Saharan
But the report also warns that what is happening now in
World leaders have been warned of an "explosive" spread of the disease into new areas unless more resources are freed up to fight Aids.
Launching the report ahead of World Aids Day on Sunday, the executive director of UNAids, Peter Piot, said there was a direct relationship between HIV/Aids and the famine in southern
"Aids is fuelling the food crisis in sub-Saharan
The report says that the six countries have more than 5-million adults and 600 000 children living with HIV/Aids out of a population of 26-million, more than one person in five.
A generation of once-fit young adults who were the farm workers, parents and teachers of southern
Alan Whiteside, director of HIV/Aids research at
"Today in [southern
"Agricultural workers are lost. The learning from generation to generation is lost."
He said there was a crisis of orphans, too. "Children are growing up unloved, unsocialised and uneducated."
For the first time in the epidemic, as many women worldwide are infected with HIV as men, largely because in sub-Saharan
The epidemic in parts of
"We must act now, on a much larger scale than anything we have done before, not only to assist those nations already hard hit, but also to stop the explosive growth of Aids in the parts of the world where the epidemic is newly emerging."
The UN price tag put on the battle against Aids is $10bn a year. -- the world has paid only $3bn this year.
"There is clearly a major resource gap," said Piot.
"We are not doing enough. There is definitely a case for increasing awareness among the public in developed countries that the Aids epidemic even very far away in
"There is a responsibility on governments and the public in countries like
"It is not only a moral responsibility. This is becoming one of the greatest threats to stability in the world -- and now I'm quoting Colin Powell in a speech last week. 'Not enough is being done.' "
The report shows the epidemic taking off quickly in eastern Europe and the central Asian republics. In 2002, there were an estimated 250 000 new infections there, bringing the region's total to 2,5-million. But in some countries the spread has been phenomenal, with almost as many new infections in