HIV/AIDS: Many challenges remain

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The revision of the number of Indians infected with HIV — from 5.7 million to 3.5 million — is not evidence that international organisations have inflated the epidemic, says the director of WHO’s HIV/AIDS department.

"Some of the best minds in this business have worked on these estimates," says Kevin De Cock in an interview with The Lancet Infectious Diseases, pointing out that the quality of measurement of the epidemic is better than for any other global infectious disease.

The challenge with the revision, says De Cock, is explaining that the change in prevalence does not mean the epidemic has gone away, or that the response to it has adequate resources.

Worldwide, De Cock says, "we are not doing particularly well … in the screening of HIV-infected people for tuberculosis".

He admits that some major diseases, such as schistosomiasis, have been overshadowed by HIV/AIDS, but insists that does not mean malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS efforts receive too much funding.

De Cock says that if South Africa, with all its resources, fails to get its HIV/AIDS policies right, "what is the likelihood of us doing it elsewhere in Africa?"

Link to full article in The Lancet Infectious Diseases*

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