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Last Updated: Wednesday, 3 December, 2003, 11:33 GMT
Can we beat Aids?
South African Aids patient
Aids is the most devastating disease humanity has ever faced, according to UNAids.

Infection rates have soared higher than previously thought possible in countries such as Botswana and Zimbabwe.

And with early-stage epidemics gathering pace in the world's most populous countries, experts warn that the worst is yet to come.

But countries such as Uganda and Brazil have shown that massive, timely campaigns can reverse bleak predictions and slow the spread of HIV.


The following comments reflect the balance of views we received:

It is not Aids that is killing us, it is social stigma. One can fight the virus but they may not be strong enough to fight the stigma. My Mum would have fought Aids, she was determined, but she couldn't because of the stigma.
Macrines Nyapendi, Kampala, Uganda

Fighting Aids is a world war, and the weapon we have is the condom. This is not going to work. We need to be faithful sexually.
Jira, Pakistan

It's not Aids that is out of control, its people that are.
Eric Rennie, Michigan, USA

The key to stopping the Aids epidemic is prevention and this can only be done through education. The risks of unprotected sex need to be understood for this to happen.
Mark, UK

After viewing some of articles I'm very depressed. Such massive scale disaster has been going on for years while people are waiting for help and cures.
Aki Niimura, California, USA

We need to wake up from our slumber and be rid of our selfish attitude
Ade Fashade, Chelmsford

The biggest problem we have is that Africans, particularly many of my fellow Nigerians, choose to ignore the threat of Aids to our continent even though it's staring us right in the face. We need to wake up from our slumber and be rid of our selfish attitude. Yet again we are blaming everyone but ourselves. I am a trustee of an organisation looking to raise awareness and much-needed funds to continue to run educational workshops for young people and medical practitioners on HIV/Aids, but our pleas, for the last four years, have fallen on mostly deaf ears. The sad thing is that generations to come are in danger of having no future. The question we have to ask ourselves is that can we live with ourselves with that potentially damning indictment hanging over us? All of us must make education about Aids a priority in our lives and the lives of our children. Charity begins at home, as they say.
Ade Fashade, Chelmsford, England

No, we won't beat Aids because it is the disease of a time with unrestricted sexual relationships and too many poor countries are infected. So change the sexual attitude and give more funding to the poor countries are keys to Aids control.
Adisoejoso, Antwerp, Belgium

Growing up in Zimbabwe I helplessly watched HIV positive people I knew marry unknowing victims. I also watched young girls being abused and nobody said anything. People die in silence as they are afraid of the stigma attached to abuse or carrying the virus. People are still in overdue denial about Aids - it's time to face reality before we all perish.
Njanji Wanjanji, Orlando, Florida

Africa is worse hit because our approach may not be the right thing
Kwame Tutu, Accra

Aids although incurable should be accepted as any other disease like, TB, Cancer and Hepatitis. Africa is worse hit because our approach may not be the right thing. We ought to re-look at our socio-cultural values and position the communication strategies as such. The funds are always misapplied and we have to be careful. In Africa the psychological part is very necessary so as to help people accept the disease.
Kwame Tutu, Accra, Ghana

Yes HIV is out of control. The way we have to stop it is education, it worked for a little while and then the adverts stopped as people became aware, but it really needs to be on going, as it is the young that are getting infected. My brother in law works in Joburg - there are boxes of condoms all around the office for free, but they just gather dust. The syndrome has wiped out the next generation of workers.
Beverley Hall (UK expat), Atlanta, Georgia

Aids is another weapon of mass destruction
Tampushi Leonard Leswam, India

Aids is another weapon of mass destruction. I have found that ignorance is the gateway to this mass killer disease.
Tampushi Leonard Leswam (Kenyan), Yamuna Nagar, India

I teach at a public high school. The kids are misinformed and uneducated about Aids. Many of these children don't know a world without the Aids epidemic, yet they still know nothing about it. I completely blame the lack of education in our schools and the idea of preaching abstinence to teens. In the past two years at my school, I have personally known 15 pregnant girls. If 15 girls are pregnant, than that makes me wonder how many of my students are practicing unsafe sex every week. In the US, condoms are very cheap and easy for teens to get, but they have no concept that using a condom could save their life.
Eden Graisbery, St. Petersburg, USA

The fight against Aids can only be successful if it is linked to the fight against poverty. Providing antiretrovirals and other drugs doesn't guarantee complete success. Aids, poverty and malnutrition are bedfellows. To beat one, you've got to fight all with the same enthusiasm. I think the international community should start thinking of how poverty can be alleviated in the developing world where the number of carriers is great. Nothing is impossible. We can beat it.
George Kings, Tokyo, Japan

We can beat Aids only if Africa becomes rich with the knowledge of preventing the disease
Norman Kaunda, Malawi

We can beat Aids only if Africa becomes rich with the knowledge of preventing the disease. We are poor with this knowledge of prevention that is why we are we are topping the charts. There is a lot of time to stop it spreading to the other countries by enriching them with the whole knowledge of preventing the disease.
Norman Kaunda, Mzuzu, Malawi

Yes we can beat Aids. If countries adopted strict laws like girls when going to get married they should be checked if they are virgins, the law where if a girl becomes pregnant out of wedlock is punished in one way or the other and churches and customs refuse polygamy, Aids could be beaten. Parents also should be strict not to let their young girls not go out with married men and also if men were responsible enough and very loving to their wives.
Janet Sichone, Blantyre, Malawi

Yes, we can beat Aids if we stop thinking of Aids as somebody else's business. It is not common to take an HIV test in this country. Some ignorant people donate their blood without knowing that they are HIV positive. Some ignorant people still believe that if you have been having relationship only with Japanese people, you do not catch HIV. Some ignorant people say "You have a non-Japanese boyfriend, so you should take HIV test." Hard to believe, but this is the reality in this country.
Tomoko, Tokyo, Japan

Stigma and discrimination have to be targeted if we're to make a significant assault on HIV/Aids
Brian Haill, Melbourne

Stigma and discrimination have to be targeted if we're to make a significant assault on HIV/Aids and the key involvement of children in national HIV awareness campaigns would be one sure way of accomplishing that.
Brian Haill, Melbourne, Australia

This disease has taken not only a number of my friends, but also my brother. It has spread through ignorance and the unwillingness of governments to acknowledge it when it first came to light and even now in certain countries in Africa. Aids like hunger can be beat if our governments begin to think as global partners of the 21st century and not revert to the isolationist, imperialist attitudes of the 19th century.
Len Probert, San Carlos USA

I grew up in Zimbabwe. To obtain my Australian study visa I had to undergo blood tests, urine tests and x-rays for HIV and TB. Had I tested positive I would not have been eligible for a visa. Australia's migration policies are certainly cruel and discriminatory in this regard, but one thing is for sure - it keeps Australia relatively Aids free. In the wake of global epidemic perhaps other states should adopt this policy too.
John, Perth, Australia

I say yes, we can beat Aids. Behavioural change is the greatest move that people in my country have taken and have reduced HIV infection. Condoms have also worked but not 100% due to improper use. Fighting stigma and discrimination is another option everyone should take seriously. My country has a success story in fighting HIV/Aids but still a lot is needed to done. Providing free anti retroviral drugs to the poor.
Salim Semujju, Kampala, Uganda

I think personally that the only solution to this epidemic is to stay with your faithful partner.
David Quee Junior, Sierra Leone Freetown

In Africa what we need is both financial and social support. Poverty is at its peak and so families need the necessary support from governments, UNAids and other concerned organisations. The price of ARV'S does no need to be reduced but to be give free of charge to poor communities as these are the communities that are hardly hit by the pandemic. These families also need the necessary food to boost their immunities and enable them live longer than they do. I feel there is still something that can be done to stop the quick spreading of this deadly disease.
Queen Kashimbo Chibwe, Lusaka, Zambia

To say that condoms prevent the spread of HIV/Aids is at best a half truth and at worst a deception
D J Beevers, Bulawayo, Zimbabwe
Bearing in mind the level of ineffectiveness of condoms in preventing pregnancy and the size of the HIV virus compared to the size of the sperm cell, how effective is a condom in preventing the spread of HIV/Aids? The only effective prevention is abstinence from sex before marriage and faithfulness within marriage. To say that condoms prevent the spread of HIV/Aids is at best a half truth and at worst a deception that can actually increase the spread of the disease because people believe that they are safe when they are not.
D J Beevers, Bulawayo, Zimbabwe

It is not a question as to whether Aids is out of control it is a question as to why governments' politicians never isolated Aids victims from the rest of the world's populations in the first place. Now it is out of control and millions of people face a death sentence imposed by inept, and uncompassionate world leaders!
Robert Sinclair Shand, Scotland

Aids has spread further and devastated more lives than was ever necessary. Absent the speedy discovery of a cure or vaccine, the most effective approach to containing Aids will be to educate the uninfected, screen people for the disease, and quarantine any infected individuals. Aids is an infectious disease. Let's begin to treat it like one.
Anthony, Blacksburg, VA

Condoms have failed to stop the spread of Aids. In fact the safe sex mantra has contributed to it because it encourages the idea of sex without consequences.
James Stubbs, Coventry, U.K.

Emancipation of women is vital so that they can feel comfortable enough to say no to unprotected sex
Sarah, South African in the UK

The key to combating HIV is sex education and the use of contraception. The stigma attached to condom use must be eradicated. Furthermore, the emancipation of women is vital so that they can feel comfortable enough to say no to unprotected sex.
Sarah, South African in the UK

Aids can be controlled by campaigning against this disease. If an illiterate is made aware about the devastating disease, he or she will try his best to save his or her self from this disease.
Mumtaz Sahil, Srinagar, India.

Aids could be the perfect example of human compassion and love, if we choose it to be.
Jason, Ottawa, Canada

Love not fear is the key! It is out of fear that HIV/Aids sufferers, even in our own neighbourhood, are ostracized and abandoned.
Christian Gries, Berlin, Germany

A cure will be found eventually and at great cost but it is going to take a great deal of time
Graham Smith, UK

I am amazed at the number of people who believe that the pharmaceutical industry is sitting on a cure for Aids because they want to make money. I have worked as a drug researcher and know how difficult it is to find a cure for any disease let alone one that has as many complicating factors as Aids. A cure will be found eventually and at great cost but it is going to take a great deal of time.
Graham Smith, UK

I think we have seen an amazing thing happen since 1982 when Aids appeared. The world embraced the population that visibly suffered from the disease at that time. There were those who were anti-gays and a great deal of stigma attached to the disease in north America. Now perhaps there is less - but there are those active and wonderful humanitarians that rose above all that and pushed for medication and change in policies. There are humanitarians, like Canada's own Stephen Lewis, that are helping the world to realise we can all help. If we each adopt one small project from somewhere in the world, and help in every way that we can this is an opportunity for unity.
Peggy Frank, Victoria, BC, Canada

I applaud Peggy Frank for her insight and sadly boo the rest of those represented in this forum that refuse to see their personal responsibility in the face of this global epidemic. It is time we all stopped trying to point the finger of blame at those who are HIV positive, governments or pharmaceutical companies. We are all affected by this disease (whether or not we are HIV positive or know someone who is). It touches all our lives in some way or another. It is only through individual will - each and every one of us doing something - that the Aids pandemic will be contained. Find a project you can support and get involved!
Shelagh Plunkett, Saltspring Island, Canada

A cure for Aids isn't likely in the near future, but something can be done to contain it provided that governments and individuals accept the realities of HIV transmission and education becomes grounded in what works best, rather than morality or superstition. Which is more immoral, the use of a condom or the transmission of a deadly disease through wilful ignorance? We have to deal with the realities of life, of which sex is a big part, and not demonize or ignore. I think that much could be gained if we thought, and cared, more about our shared humanity.
Vanja, New York City, USA

Most of the HIV/Aids victims die of causes not directly due to the virus but due to the stigma associated, lack of appropriate food and medical care. Leprosy was associated with lots of stigma but once the stigma was eliminated, the percentage of infection was tremendously reduced and threatening deformities were considerably reduced. I strongly feel that to act quickly in totally eradicating the stigma will bring benefits.
Dev, Springhill, USA

No HIV is not out of control. There is still time to stop it.
Chinasa Anabaronye, Nigerian in Cadiz, Spain

It just seems that it's one of those problems where more has to be done every day to fight it. I think Aids in Africa poses a terrifying prospect to the rest of the world - can we sit back and watch an entire race of human beings face extinction? Money should not be an issue in fighting this disease. Where is humanity's conscience? Surely we can't just sit back and say, tough luck Africa. These problems could be promoted more in the media all over the world so that people know what is going - not just via the internet. Instead of watching endless repeats of the Simpsons. Heck, why not make Homer HIV positive - maybe the west would understand then.
David Mynett, Carshalton, UK

HIV/Aids prevention education and the individual's decision to protect him or herself from infection can certainly allow us to beat back this disease. As it relates to Africa, clearly, Africa's medical and educational infrastructures need improvements and resources to adequately address this pandemic. In the meantime, each of us has a moral responsibility to address the material and other needs of those infected and affected by HIV/Aids.
Marcia Sutherland, Albany, New York

Start giving people information
Josi, Rio, Brazil

Stop economical exploitation of the poor. Stop marketing medicines. Stop treating Aids with drugs and start giving people information. Give everyone food.
Josi, Rio, Brazil

As long as we choose to not fully educate our youth about sex, Aids will only continue to progress and kill thousands upon thousands more men, women, and children.
Desiree, Orange County, CA - USA

(From bbcpersian.com) Within the next ten years, Aids is going to affect everybody in Iran like a huge explosion. This needs to be prevented through education and media campaign.
Hoda Zaheri, Iran

Unawareness is what threatens our youths and adolescents
Aziz Foroutan, Kabul

(From bbcpersian.com) I am terrified! The increase in the number of cases in Iran and Afghanistan and lack of awareness about this disease petrifies me. Censorship is imposed on the dissemination of information about Aids in Afghanistan and to some extent in Iran. Unawareness is what threatens our youths and adolescents.
Aziz Foroutan, Kabul

(From bbcpersian.com) Why do we leave our youngsters alone when they need to learn about sex? Parents should be trained about how to tell their children about safe sex.
Cherry, Tehran

(From bbcpersian.com) Spreading awareness about prevention is the most effective way of controlling the disease. However, cultural limitations in Iran make this difficult. Furthermore, knowledge about how Aids spreads is equally important.
Touraj Ja'farzadegan, Qazvin

Let us not look down at those living with the virus
Seyyed Javid Rahimi, Taleqan

(From bbcpersian.com) Let us not look down at those living with the virus. Let us save our developing communities through an extensive educational campaign to promote awareness.
Seyyed Javid Rahimi, Taleqan, Afghanistan

Yes, we can beat Aids! If we can beat smallpox, a highly contagious disease, why not Aids. How do we stop Aids? Simple, treat everyone as if they are HIV positive. This way, condoms are required and people's sexual practices are made safer. All blood donations must be screened carefully. Those who knowingly infect other individuals must be punished.
B. Schmitt, USA

The Catholic Church is always accused of promoting the spread of HIV through its discouragement of the use of condoms. Those who are promiscuous are precisely those who have either not heard, or not heeded, Catholic teaching. How then can Catholic teaching be the cause of their behaviour?
Stefan, UK

To Stefan. Someone who has sexual intercourse is not necessarily promiscuous! In Tanzania, for example, 42% of HIV transmission occurs between married couples. It is the very idea that HIV/Aids only affects promiscuous or dirty people that exacerbates the rate of transmission and severely hinders HIV control methods.
A. Lloyd, Cardiff, Wales

Education, contraception and moderation are the only solutions
Paul Tyrrell, London

To A. Lloyd: If 42% of HIV transmission occurs between married couples, then where did the first infected partner in each case get the disease? The answer must be from an extramarital affair, unless the couple abstained from sex before marriage, which seems unlikely given that one of them was carrying an STD. Whichever way you look at it, the cause is promiscuity. Education, contraception and moderation are the only solutions.
Paul Tyrrell, London, UK

To A. Lloyd: And how exactly did the one married partner that passed it to the other contract HIV? Surely not as the result of a monogamous relationship and no drug use?
Jeff, Springfield, VA, USA

Increase the budget of medicine to help poor countries to overcome aids. Secondly, give free lessons [how to win the war on aids ]on TV , radio, magazines, satellite channels, school, university. All these can help to save people from this danger.
Khalil Darwish, Amman Jordan

HIV came; supposedly from infected animals as do the majority of our colds and flu. The question is what else is waiting in poor parts of the world which could one day make HIV look minor in comparison. Ebola & SARS for example are not 100% fatal but thousands of times more contagious and yet we have little understanding of this and many others, we must spend more on medicine and less on war.
John, London, UK

There truly is no profit in curing the disease
Mike, USA

I truly believe, hope and pray that the world governments are committed to this fight against HIV/Aids and the devastation it brings to the individual, family, community, nation. However my pessimism continually wins over. I work in the health care industry and see first hand the power of money and the way it plays within the medical community. There truly is no profit in curing the disease. Where the money exists the disease becomes more manageable. We are doing it with diabetes and asthma, why not HIV? Will there ever be a cure for HIV? No. Will people one day, who live with HIV, die from natural causes rather then the due to the progression of the disease? Well in the least we can hope for that.
Mike, Sacramento, CA, USA

HIV is a huge global public health problem. It is not unbeatable, with just a small percentage of what the world spends on warfare every year, all of the greatest public health problems (tuberculosis, malaria, Aids, polio, typhoid fever) could be brought under control if not eliminated, within a decade. Accurate information and prevention efforts are by far more cost-effective than drugs and treatments. The world has the economic capacity to end these problems. The world does not have the political will to do so.
Brian Foley, PhD, Los Alamos, NM, USA

AIDS has its greatest impact on developing countries for many reasons, some eloquently expressed by other contributors. However, I feel Aids is not so terrifying to people in these countries where grinding poverty, high child mortality and a host of other killer diseases kill millions yearly. Not to mention starvation. These scourges barely affect the developed world and consequently receive little real attention. However, in developing countries they contribute to a general feeling of despair and resignation to death and disease. If there is to be any real advance in containing Aids the policy makers must integrate Aids prevention/treatment into mainstream health education and not separate it as though it's something different. It's not. It's a preventable, transmissible disease, similar to many others and needs to be demystified and incorporated into mainstream health care education.
Clive, USA Ex-Kenya

Create a Marlborough image
Sung, UK

Create a Marlborough image for condom companies and export the ad all over the world.
Sung, UK

Governments have already demonstrated they do not have the will to bring to bear the resources and effort necessary to halt the epidemic. So I don't believe HIV/Aids will come under control until such time that an effective vaccine may be developed and administered worldwide. Only then will there be a chance to subdue it in any meaningful way.
John, USA

Aids/HIV is out of control. Even the 'will' of nations is not enough. To effectively combat this will require drugs, education, and honest acceptance that this is indeed a crisis for humanity. For the first two, the cost will be in the shape of currency. And far more of it than anyone wants to believe, or is willing to pay for.
Christopher Magee, Washington, D.C. USA

Health, education and escape from poverty will do more to beat Aids than any drugs or regimes of abstinence, which is asking people to stop being human.
John M, Lyne Meads, UK

HIV will continue to infect and kill millions around the world
Daniel Lowell, Austin, TX, USA
Without a major breakthrough in retro-viral vaccine research, HIV will continue to infect and kill millions around the world. Behaviour modification strategies, and anti-viral medications can only slow the devastation, and prevent social collapse in those countries most affected. Unfortunately a vaccine seems quite far off, perhaps decades, due to the biological complexity of the HIV virus.
Daniel Lowell, Austin, TX, USA

Abstinence, drugs, strong governments - all very well. But I feel there will be no real progress against Aids until ALL churches - and that includes the Catholic church - start educating their followers and offer free condoms and advice, in particular in those countries with less than adequate education systems.
Alan Halls, Solingen, Germany

Congratulations for brining the Aids debate to the forefront again. As a 25 year old, the 'Don't Die of ignorance' campaign has been branded on my brain. My 21 year old sister cannot remember it. As well as preventing and treating the devastation in Africa I think we need to educate the young people of this country about the dangers.
Kathryn, Stevenage, Herts

Brazil has broken the spread of AIDS in part by breaking international patent laws. They rightly took the liberty of telling us where to shove a few pages of our first-world rule book.
Graham, UK

I don't see the occurrence of AIDS declining very much at all without some serious education of the poor.
Martin, UK / South Africa
Having lived in South Africa all my life, I can honestly say that I don't see the occurrence of AIDS declining very much at all without some serious education of the poor. Millions of people reside in rural areas without even the most basic luxury of running water. A lot of these people still live in cultures where superstition plays a vital role in their lives - such superstition can include the rape of a virgin to rid oneself of the HIV infection. Incest and rape of children (as young as newborns in some cases) is not uncommon. Widespread education and accessible clinics could greatly help to dispel various myths and taboos and teach people about the disease. Antiretrovirals should also be administered free of charge without question to HIV-positives, without all the legal red tape so prevalent in the South African government's health department.
Martin, UK (previously South Africa)

To say that AIDS is a lifestyle disease is an ignorant statement. How can people make lifestyle choices if the information and education is not there, not to mention access to barrier contraception. What about the people who have been infected though blood transfusions or babies born of HIV mothers? This was not their lifestyle choice was it? The main weapons we have against HIV and AIDS are EDUCATION, INFORMATION, and BARRIER CONTRACPTION. One day maybe we will have a vaccine or cure.
Hayley Warren, Ditchling, Sussex

To M. Smith, UK: I am a Mother myself, and I believe that parents have an obligation to speak to their children about HIV. I have had discussions about sexual behaviour with my daughter who is now 18 years old. This way I at least feel assured, that she knows about safe sex. It does of course become difficult, when parents feel uncomfortable speaking about sex with their children or maybe are themselves not informed enough to pass on usable information. Children should have access to condoms, and to information because they will not ask for help if parents take the stand that "sex is a no no".
Daniela, Berlin, Germany

Most of the politicians in a nation like India do not know enough about AIDS
Dr. M. K. Bajaj, Yamuna Nagar, India
Yes, we can certainly beat the scourge of AIDS, if there is enough political will in some the nations, which at the moment is lacking. Most of the politicians in a nation like India do not know enough about AIDS and are not concerned about its spread. They might wake up, as is their wont after tragedy on a large scale strikes the country. At the moment as indeed most of the times they are busy feathering their nests and announcing populist measures which never see the light of the day and the money goes to their pockets and things like AIDS keep happening.
Dr. M. K. Bajaj, Yamuna Nagar, India

When I was last in Southern Africa I was told that encouraging people to use condoms was part of a Western plot to lower the black birth-rate so that the country could be re-colonized by whites. I was also told that the disease had been specifically introduced to Africa for the same reason and that having sex with a virgin girl would cure the disease. Until governments grasp the nettle and deal openly and honestly with these sorts of rumours their people will continue to die. Unfortunately it would appear that in many cases for political reasons they prefer to keep their people in the dark.
David Priddy, Datchet, UK

There is nothing making a cure for AIDS impossible, only difficult. The nature of the virus itself means that it mutates quickly, making any cure difficult. I agree that better education is the method most likely to give benefits at the current time, a task that isn't helped by the attitude of the Vatican attitude to contraception. Those views stated that the best solution is for those currently affected is to not pass on the virus seem unrealistic, given that a large proportion of these people will not know they carry the disease. An STD epidemic is not new, look at syphilis, humanity found a cure for that and given time we will find a cure for AIDS.
Ian, Bury St Edmunds UK

If people want to have free sex then AIDS is the risk
John B, UK
AIDS is still largely sexually transmitted. The only method of contraception known to be 100% effective and 100% certain not to transmit STDs is abstinence. If people want to have free sex then AIDS is the risk. Monogamous relationships might not be in fashion, and indeed might be regarded as somehow "outdated" and "irrelevant", but help prevent the spread of this hideous disease. Ultimately it boils down to risk and reward - you can't have the freedom of sex without the risks of getting caught out.
John B, UK

We will only begin to beat AIDS when the religious zealots dump their pious nonsense and accept that proper sexual education and condoms are the answer rather than preaching abstinence and "family values".
Nigel Pond, Brit living in the USA

There is no other disease that the human population has the power to eradicate by not putting itself in the way of infection. The question should be how can we induce people to have a heightened morality that would achieve this end.
Keith, USA

While people still treat HIV infection as a "moral problem", then no, we won't ever beat it.
Paul Stevens, UK

Look at what Cuba did, where AIDS has been brought under control - they rounded up everyone infected, offered them life-long medical care in isolation, or treatment and education to help them reintegrate into society without posing a threat. When AIDS drugs became too expensive for Cuba to buy, they generated their own, very effective, drugs. It's taken a collective effort from the whole country, but it's working.
Jan, Edinburgh, Scotland

Yes aids can be beaten... only if more developing countries see it as a threat to their survival and more advanced countries provide the necessary funds...this however does not presently seem to be the case.
Chux, UK

Not while the Catholic Church is preaching abstinence and that the use of condoms is wrong, and worse, can even cause AIDS. They are responsible for millions of deaths, no two ways about it. It makes my blood boil.
Jon Cooper, UK

The only way to beat HIV/AIDS is to educate not only those with this horrific disease but everyone
Helen W, UK
HIV is out of control but it is the fault of the authorities that it has got to this level. When I was at school (only five years ago) one girl lost her wallet and when it turned up the school had called her parents in to give them a lecture about their 17 year old daughter carrying a condom! At school we were never taught how to put a condom on in fact the teachers seemed even embarrassed to mention to word which in turn made us embarrassed. The only way to beat HIV/AIDS is to educate not only those with this horrific disease but everyone - it is the only way to stop it.
Helen W, UK

The responsibility for eradicating the world of AIDS lies with each and every person currently living with the disease. If they could all make a promise to themselves that they would not knowingly pass the infection on in any way (including having any children) then the world could be rid of the plague within 100 years.
Rich, UK

Perhaps if the worlds authorities spend more money on research and medicine than on wars and wasting money. Perhaps we would be closer to a cure.
Josh Hawes, Newtown, Wales

We don't need resources to beat AIDS. Merely the will to do so. Why should my tax dollars go to a cure for AIDS when it is 100 percent preventable?
Jeff, Springfield, VA, USA

I can't help but feel a critical part of this debate should focus on two key aspects. Firstly, we need a higher sense of morality. As Matthew (US) stated, it is the simple submission to the lower levels of basic desires and the inability to control them that has led to such a devastating disease. Secondly, education must be stepped up. The 'richer' states should acknowledge the responsibilities it has not just to its own people but to the whole world. Its about time we realised...we are either part of the problem... or part of the solution.
Bilal, UK

I don't know what planet Kate of Cirencester lives on where education is global but it isn't this one. AIDS is rife in countries that have little or no education and there it is spread for reasons well described by other contributors. Something we in the better educated parts of the world should be well aware of is that we must channel support and help to the Third World. And to Jon Scott of Nottingham all I can say is what a cruel and heartless world it would be if treatments for alleviation of disease and suffering were withheld solely because they weren't a complete cure.
Helen, Manchester UK

AIDS is completely self-inflicted - and the result of an irresponsible lifestyle? Tell that to healthcare workers who have contracted HIV through accidental needle stick injury, anyone who was given infected blood before screening was introduced, the children born to mothers with the disease, the young women circumcised at an early age and now at greater risk of contracting HIV during sex... It's easy to condemn when the problem seems distant. You'd have a change of heart if you had a change of circumstance.
Alexa, UK

Even if the miraculous drug is found somewhere it will take many years to make it available for people who need it.
Andrey, Novosibirsk, Russia

The media can play a significant role in reducing the incidences of AIDS
Sadia, England
The media can play a significant role in reducing the incidences of AIDS. Where are the adverts, documentaries and posters which were once dominating TV media? These instilled a sense of fear into people's hearts which consequently, made them take the step to re-modify their lifestyles and habits. I think it is a case of 'out of sight....out of mind'.
Sadia, England

I'd like to see these people who claim it is a 'lifestyle disease' justify that to someone who has the disease because their partner cheated on them or because they were raped. If people weren't so prejudiced it would help. It would also help if the Catholic Church could shed it's obsession for demonising contraceptives.
Jonathan Kelk, Dalry, Scotland

Why is everyone assuming that AIDS is always a self inflicted disease? It is not. Before much was known about the disease, people were catching AIDS from blood transfusions - that was beyond their control. What about women (or men for that matter) that are raped by people with AIDS. Embittered people who have caught this awful virus and are so mad, they feel they need to punish society? Do their victims asked to be raped? Whilst I agree that education and prevention are better than cure, spare a thought for those who did not have the luxury of making the choice of whether to put themselves at risk.
Sonia, UK

You can beat AIDS quite simply, don't sleep with or share needles with carriers, or in other words, behave in a responsible fashion. I can't believe people are comparing it to smallpox, AIDS is completely self inflicted and the only thing that will control its spread is controlling your own behaviour. Education is the only solution, not overpriced ineffective drugs, prevention is better than a cure.
Fred, England

So Fred in England, thinks that AIDS is completely self inflicted does he? Tell that to the millions who were unknowingly infected by partners they trusted and believed to be faithful (most women in Africa as it happens); a country where many men believe the cure for AIDS is to sleep with (or rape) a virgin, and where contraception is often disallowed, again by men, thereby increasing the number of babies born HIV positive. It is naive in the extreme to assume that many millions of people enjoy the level of control over their lives that he so obviously takes for granted. Grow up and open your eyes and ears. The only thing he said that was rational was the need for education.
Wendy, UK

Maybe mandatory AIDS tests are the answer?
Gavin, Cardiff, Wales
We should think ourselves lucky that it is not spread through the air like flu. Maybe mandatory AIDS tests are the answer? It is spread by many who don't know they are infected after all. Expensive, but so is a few million deaths and drugs to keep the sick alive.
Gavin, Cardiff, Wales

Apparently one in three people who have HIV in the UK don't know they have it. If anyone has any inkling that they may have caught any kind of STD they should go and be tested. People seem to think they'd they're better off not knowing. How can this be right? There are drugs that can help you and at least you'll know that you're not passing it onto someone else. As the old 80s adverts said "Don't die of ignorance"
Sarah, London, UK

AIDS is currently incurable. Modern drugs just prolong sufferers' lives so they have the opportunity to infect other people. Unless drugs provide a cure they should not be used. Containment by education is the only sensible answer.
Jon Scott, Nottingham UK

With education on a global level it is possible for HIV and Aids to be contained and wiped out within a couple of generations, however the problem is that many people do not want to listen, and would rather die than make minor changes to make their lifestyle safer.
Kate, Cirencester, UK

AIDS parasitically accompanies two of humanity's most irresistible pleasures - sex and drugs. To truly beat it, I fear we may need to come up with a cure for desire.
Matthew, San Francisco, USA

There are only two ways to beat AIDS. One way is through a vaccine or cure and the whole world hopes and prays for the day when that will be a reality. Until then, only behaviour modification will prevent the spread of the disease which despite the advances in treatment is always a death sentence. Unfortunately, many governments have refused to educate their populations about the dangers of certain behaviour and what can be done to prevent acquiring AIDS and just as bad, many people who are aware choose to ignore the warnings and make a fatal mistake.
Mark, USA

There are very powerful people that actually have the resources to control and even eradicate this disease. However, greed always overcomes their willingness to help. More money is being spent on funding wars. These people should realize that our greatest enemy is AIDS because it threatens the very existence of humanity itself. And from the looks of it, we are losing the battle.
Janet Paulin, Philippines/Australia

The longer we procrastinate, the greater are the chances for new strains of the virus to emerge
EH, UK
It is possible to contain, if not completely defeat, a disease such as AIDS. This is evident in nations where government resources have been put to good use. However, the longer we procrastinate, the greater are the chances for new strains of the virus to emerge. Time must not be wasted, and any step towards control, whether social or medical, is better than nothing.
EH, UK

There will NEVER be a cure for Aids. Like there will never be a cure for the Common Cold, or flu. The reason, there is no money is cures. However, what does make money are 'treatments' the sort that you have to keep taking everyday. This keeps the drug companies making their billions and also enables them to continue R&D into further 'treatments'.
Geoff Hirst, Scotland

The posting by Geoff Hirst is talking rubbish and simply shows his ignorance of this topic. AIDS is not like the flu or common cold. There are a limited number of distinct strains that could be contained. It is unlikely that we'll ever eradicate AIDS completely but control and containment of the disease is possible almost entirely through education. The major difference between the northern world where AIDS is under control and the south where it is destroying entire societies, is that we have the benefit of being informed and empowered.

What really needs to happen is that the fight against the disease needs to be organised and structured and those countries who can afford to contribute financially should do so.
Richard W, Worcester

I sincerely feel that not enough has been done to understand how AIDS virus is really transmitted. To reach the proportion of the actual pandemic it seems logic to me that there must be some other mode of transmission than those currently described. Until and when we master this, then effective prophylaxis can be installed. If polio, which was a deadlier disease is now a sad past story, I do not see why the same should not apply to AIDS which is yet another viral infection.
Sarita Boolell, Mauritius

Of course we can beat AIDS when those who have the cures and medications get compelled or paid enough to share the knowledge. If the epidemic was as devastating in the USA and Europe as in Africa the treatments and a cure would be available to all today. If you practice sex outside of monogamous relationships you will be a victim. Love life more than sex and you can live.
Luke, USA/Germany

Parents of different religions/tribes from every country around the globe have got to teach their sons and daughters about the facts of life (about puberty). If the parents fail to do so, then the parents need educating themselves. Children of every Nation need to know about sex education as part of their growing-up. Also Teenagers need to know the less promiscuous they are, the more likely teenage pregnancy rate will get lower.
Joanne Edwards, Brighton, UK

Yes, the pandemic could be controlled and gradually eradicated as drugs technology improves, but only through a concerted international effort between governments, international bodies, drug companies, voluntary agencies and other providers of humanitarian services. The sooner economic well-being of the G8 and drug giants is regarded as a lower priority than the health of people in poor countries, the sooner people will be given hope to overcome the scourge of this dreadful disease.
Andy Millward, UK

To beat AIDS, the world must come together and cooperate
Peter Bolton, US
I concur with Tom from Arlington; AIDS is controllable, even beatable. But, to beat AIDS, the world must come together and cooperate. We, the nations of the world, must recognize AIDS as a threat and combine our vast resources.
Peter Bolton, US

We can defeat AIDS but it will take a global effort similar to the Smallpox Eradication effort of the last century, but it will take the unstilted cooperation of the industrialized nations of the world.
Tom, Arlington, VA, USA

Aids is a severe immunological disorder. One can only hope that the spread of AIDS will cease...hope, it's the only thing we have to fight against it. You can't just get rid of it by swinging a magic wand (how great would that be?) We will be continuing to fight AIDS and I don't think we can beat it, only by a miracle...
Tina Kole, USA

Yes we can beat aids. But, it won't happen. Poor management of resources. The lack of interest from various peoples and governments around the world. HIV is out of control but it doesn't have the same commitment that small pox had in the 50s and 60s.
Russ B, USA

No, I don't think HIV/AIDS is out of control. The experience of some countries like Uganda in Africa and many countries of the developed world shows that it can be controlled. Remember, we are not dealing with an airborne epidemic or something similar, which spreads easily. We can stay as close as we wish with our beloved ones with the exception of unprotected sexual intercourse, and yet we are safe and can care for the victims as long as time allows. Until an ultimate solution will be found in the future, we have still the chance of controlling its spread by making a drastic change of attitude. The practice of one-to-one should not be a difficult practice to adopt.
Asrat Worku, Ethiopia

Technically AIDS could be beaten now if people were more careful, it should in theory be easier to beat than diseases like Cancer which are self-propagating but people are generally too slow to realise.
D Burnham, UK

To my mind, we can beat AIDS, but in the long term
Fode Abou CAMARA, Dakar, SENEGAL
To my mind, we can beat AIDS, but in the long term, because it's deep rooted in our societies. This through changing behaviours that might widespread the virus (unprotected sex...) and an awareness campaign or sex education in any social group at any level.
Fode Abou CAMARA, Dakar, SENEGAL

People have to be educated about AIDS, prevention, and treatment
Margaree, USA
I don't believe that we will ever see a cure for AIDS because of the nature of the disease. We may however, find that it can be treated as a chronic disease, and people may see themselves living long productive lives provided that they get the proper medications to treat the disease. In the mean time, people have to be educated about AIDS, prevention, and treatment.
Margaree, USA

It's not necessarily a lifestyle disease, the majority of this epidemic is in Sub Saharan Africa, and is due to a number of things including lack of education, woman having no rights and the lack of medical support. 75% of all heterosexual transmissions in this country have been brought into the country from Africa, either from Immigrants or business travellers. The only way to slow the epidemic in this country is fear; people need to be aware of how dangerous and common it can be, even in the heterosexual community. I hope a cure can be found otherwise I truly believe that the future of the human race could well be in jeopardy.
Ian Burley, Cardiff, Wales

With a coordinated and concerted effort of the international body lead by the United States' strong funding power, we can surely beat this deadly killer disease.
Vivian, Ghana, West African

We're stuck with it.
Ian, UK

It's a virus. They don't just go away. We're stuck with it.
Ian, UK

No it is not in the interest of the chemical companies to provide the drugs which they know would help to start to reduce or even kill the AIDS epidemic, because of the profit margin.
Joe Joseph, Devon, UK

The one powerful knowledge we have is that of prevention. This is the only way for HIV to be controlled, through education and strong governmental support for such schemes. We can beat this, together!
Andy, Singapore




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