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Monday, 25 June, 2001, 12:10 GMT 13:10 UK
Warning over Aids complacency
HIV can never be fully eradicated from the body
The number of HIV infections is on the rise in the US because some younger people falsely believe it is curable by modern drugs.

Aids experts from around the world are gathering in New York to discuss how the disease can be tackled.

Their main focus will be the spread of the virus in developing countries, where death rates are spiralling out of control in the absence of cheap medication to keep the infection under control.

However, in New York itself, public health experts are concerned that the wealth of antiretroviral drugs available to patients there are creating a false sense of security.

This complacency leads some to have unsafe sex, they say, and are fearing a fresh explosion of new cases.

No cure

Modern antiretroviral medications can halt the advance of HIV and keep patients relatively healthy for many years, but they cannot eradicate the virus from the body.

Anna Oliviera, the executive director of a Gay Men's Health Crisis Centre in Manhattan district of the city, said that the change was worrying.

You can't expect that what you did to educate and motivate people who were first hit by the epidemic is still in effect today

Dr Helene Gayle, CDC
She told the BBC: "We have seen here in the US an unintended consequence of treatment access - which is an understanding of HIV and Aids as something that is easily solveable."

Dr Carlos Salama, who works with Aids patients in New York, said: "Money or no money is no issue. Everybody who has HIV in New York, or for that matter, the rest of the US, gets the treatment."

There are currently 40,000 people infected in New York every year - those most likely to become infected are the under 25s.

There are calls for the frightening health messages of the 1980s to be repeated for the latest generation.

Dr Helene Gayle, of the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC), said: "Prevention is not a one -shot deal.

"You can't expect that what you did to educate and motivate people who were first hit by the epidemic is still in effect today."

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04 Jun 01 | Health
Aids: 20 years on
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