World AIDS Conference
UN warns of the rapid spread of the immune deficiency disease AIDS in Eastern Europe.
(18.07.2010) In the course of the World AIDS Conference beginning in Vienna, the UN warned of an AIDS epidemic in Eastern Europe. In countries like Estonia or the Ukraine, every 100th citizen is infected with the AIDS virus. Young people who live on the margins of society are particularly affected.
The dangerous immune deficiency disease AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, in English "acquired immune deficiency syndrome") is far from banned. On the contrary, especially in Eastern Europe and Africa, AIDS continues to spread rapidly. The United Nations warned against this at the beginning of the international World AIDS Conference. It mainly affects young people, children and women who have to live on the margins of society. For six days, experts, doctors, politicians and researchers discuss, among other things, how the dangerous and deadly disease can be contained and how the use of so-called virus inhibitors can be improved so that as many infected people as possible can survive. Around 33 million people worldwide are infected with the HIV virus, most of them in southern Africa, where around 22 million people are infected with AIDS.
Topics of the World AIDS Conference.
Around 25,000 invited guests and experts from 180 countries around the world are taking part in the World AIDS Conference with the main theme "AIDS 2010". The World AIDS Conference takes place every two years and is considered to be the most important meeting in the world. On the agenda is the question of what about the human rights of the sick and why has the goal of providing all AIDS patients with sufficient medication by 2010 failed. "It seems that politicians around the world are losing interest and forgetting that they once made a promise," criticized World AIDS Conference Chairman Julio Montaner. Currently around 5 million people infected with HIV are receiving drugs, while 11 to 14 million have no access to these life-extending drugs. In many countries, AIDS sufferers are also marginalized and discriminated against. Above all in numerous countries in Africa and Eastern Europe.
Dangerous spread of the HI virus in Eastern Europe.
The rapid spread of the epidemic in Eastern Europe is particularly worrying. In Russia, the Ukranine or Etsland, almost every 100 people are infected with HIV. As the current report of the United Nations AIDS program ("Unaids") reports, the main reason is that this development is due to increased heroin addiction. For example, in Russia, one in three prostitutes infected with HIV uses syringes to inject heroin. In these countries the AIDS rate is ten times higher than in Central Europe.
Lack of treatment offers and discrimination against AIDS sufferers.
But not only the enormous increase in drug consumption has caused the disease rate to skyrocket. There is also a lack of meaningful treatment options. Because Russia, for example, only 16 percent of the sick were treated. In Ukraine, the range of therapies is even lower, with just seven percent receiving medical treatment there. Deutsche Aids-Hilfe criticized the situation in Eastern Europe and urged it to be urgent. Silke Klumb said that the sick are "exposed to insane marginalization and discrimination on a social and political level (in Eastern Europe)".
With the guideline "Rights Here, Right Now", the experts want to counteract the mass discrimination against those affected by AIDS. "Above all, we hope for political signals to be sent to those in power around the world, but especially in Eastern Europe, so that the government can finally provide effective financial and ideal support there," said Klumb from Aids-Hilfe. Deutsche Aidshilfe works with projects and prevention centers worldwide, but also in Eastern Europe. There activists in the fight against AIDS receive financial support. It is important to show the states alternatives to the current drug policy. Models like the one in Germany, in which clean syringes are distributed to drug addicts, have proven to be effective in combating the spread of the HIV virus. There are hardly any such offers in Russia or Ukraine. The focus here is almost exclusively on repression and persecution.
AIDS infection rate in Germany. According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), 2856 newly diagnosed HIV-infected people were registered. That is about half of the previous year. It seems like an increase has stopped for now. "The almost 3000 new HIV diagnoses in Germany per year are among the lowest numbers in the world," explains Jörg Litwinschuh to the "Welt" on Sunday. If the new disease rate is to be reduced further, it will be a great success for the preventive measures in Germany. Awareness campaigns promoting the use of condoms have helped in particular. This has created a new awareness, especially among young people, explains the Federal Health Center. Around 86 percent of 16 to 44-year-olds now use condoms in new relationships. Ten years ago it was just 65 percent. About 67,000 people in Germany are currently infected with AIDS.
On the first day of the conference, numerous lectures were held on the subjects of "drug substitution therapies", "costs of AIDS in Africa" and "sex and stigma". The conference will last a total of six days. (sb)