Hidden Nook

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Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Tsunami Has Raised AIDS Risk

[Media Source*]

(Hat Tip: UN Dispatch)

(Relief Web) One in four new infections occurs in Asia, home to more than half the world's people, and 1,500 in the region die from the disease each day. Another 12 million could be infected over the next five years if prevention programmes are not stepped up...

"We're extremely concerned about the disaster and the increased risk of HIV and AIDS," said Jan Leno, from the UNAIDS secretariat, at a session of an international conference on AIDS in the Asia-Pacific held in the western Japanese city of Kobe.

According to the article the two main reasons for the increased risk. The first one is due to the break down of the basic health care system, which after a devastating event like the one that hit the Indian Ocean last year can leave hospitals over burdened and under supplied. The second seems to be more behavioral (which means preventable), as it seems many of nationals have run out of condoms, although this "preventive" measure is not as effective as age old abstinence.

"Our men all want sex. But how can I have sex when I have lost two children?" one woman in a tsunami-hit area of Sri Lanka told Kiran Bhatia, a U.N. regional adviser.

One aid worker said the areas in southern Thailand hit hardest by the tsunami had high levels of HIV/AIDS before the disaster, and funds earmarked for fighting the disease had been diverted to relief efforts.

Probably what needs to be done by the international community is simply more distribution of the funds promised instead of more money which can be implemented best by purchasing the necessary medical equipment as well as deploying more skilled doctors to the region.

A second initiative would be teaching the nationals the "ABC's" approach that has working in Africa as that would cut down on not only the infection rate in the area but potentially on costs (because shipping condoms would require using resources that can be better spent on aiding the afflicted).

Either way, private donations to this region are welcome and if people are still interested in giving they can visit Google's Tsunami site as well as GFA and find out ways to contribute to those helping out in the region.

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By Darnell Clayton • 9:00 PM • Email Post • •


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