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Sunday, February 25, 2024

Remembering the AIDS victims

CSMS Magazine Staff Writers

 Millions of people across the globe protested against lack of serious attention devoted to AIDS victims. South Africa was leading the way with a huge concert in Johannesburgorganized by Nelson Mandela’s 46664 AIDS campaign group, named after his prison number from his 27 years in jail during South Africa’s apartheid regime.According to AFP (Agence France Press), an estimated 50,000 people attended the concert of local and foreign artists, ranging from Peter Gabriel to Ludacris, broadcast to millions around the world. Mandela was physically present, putting a rare appearance as the crowd busted into loud applauses. The legendary leader, now 89, urged people to stand up and take the fight against AIDS into their own hands.”It is still alarming that for every person who receives treatment there are four others who are newly infected,” said the nobel laureate, after slowly walking to the podium with the aid of his wife and a walking stick.”Yes, big ambitious plans are needed to deal with the epidemic. But what really matters are small acts of kindness … such as protecting yourself,” he said.South Africa has the world’s worst rate of HIV, according to recent UN statistics, with around 5.5 million people infected out of a population of 48 million. An estimated 33.2 million people around the world are said to be living with AIDS and 2.1 million deaths in 2007, campaigners warned there was still a long way to go.”Despite substantial progress against AIDS worldwide, we are still losing ground,” said James Shelton of the US Agency for International Development (USAID) in a commentary in the medical journal The Lancet on Saturday.Treatment was still only available to about 10 percent of those in need, he said, while in developing countries, “the number of new infections continues to dwarf the numbers who start antiretroviral therapy in developing countries.”One of the biggest areas of concern was funding.In Burundi, President Pierre Nkurunziza said international aid to fight the disease had decreased there, and if the situation continued, donors would “be contributing to a genocide”. Burundi has an infection rate of about 3.5 percent.According to the UN, there is currently an eight-billion-dollar (five-billion-euro) shortfall in resources to fight AIDS.Also see Remembering AIDS victims on AIDS day

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