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Last Updated: Monday, 6 December 2004, 17:24 GMT
How can the battle against Aids be won?
Aids orphans in Nairobi
We discussed the global spread of Aids with the Nobel prize winning novelist and UNDP Goodwill Ambassador Nadine Gordimer in a special edition of our phone-in programme Talking Point.
Today is World Aids Day when the United Nations tries to focus attention on the growing problem.

The global Aids pandemic is increasing worldwide, particularly in women and young girls, according to a UNAIDS report.

There are currently 39.4 million people living with HIV globally and every day as many as 1,300 children die from HIV and Aids-related illnesses across the world.

Recent research showed cheap antibiotics could nearly halve the death rate among Africa's HIV-positive children.

How can the fight against Aids be won? Who should be responsible for it? What more can be done to combat the spread of HIV/Aids?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.

The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received so far:

The first step is for everybody to stop finding scapegoats and work together
Tim, London
What has never worked in solving the world's problems is finding someone to blame. All too often, Aids and poverty in Africa are blamed on multinationals, colonialism, Catholics, the West, men, women, and so on, often for political reasons that have nothing to do with Africa. The first step is for everybody to stop finding scapegoats and work together. Abstinence, condoms and changes in behaviour must be promoted. People must be pulled out of poverty. Corruption and civil war must be ended. The basics of public health must be provided. Simple eh?
Tim, London

The best thing is to try and educate people and make contraceptives as available as possible. At this point in time it's the best we can do until research sheds some more light on the subject and possibly a cure.
Anon, Gold Coast, Australia

While people say (correctly) that we need more research into diseases and new medicines, we are seeing good university departments (such as Chemistry at King's and Exeter) being closed. Who's going to do all the science in the future? Certainly not the British at this rate.
Peter, Nottingham

We have to change attitudes by education, education and education
Carole, UK
In many developing nations speaking about sex is taboo, condoms are viewed with contempt so we have to change attitudes by education, education and education. We can throw money into a bottomless pit but until the message is understood then lives will continue to be blighted and lost. Religious and tribal leaders could spread the word far more effectively to the people than at present.
Carole, UK

Most contributors seem very focussed on the so-called "condom strategy". While everyone clearly has the right to be educated about condoms, one need only compare Uganda to its neighbours to appreciate the empirical evidence that abstinence-based programmes are the real key to success. Those who try and pretend otherwise to protect their outdated liberal views from being challenged bear a good portion of the responsibility for what is happening in Africa.
Richard Hudson, Munich, Germany

If people were really concerned about spreading AIDS, they would ALL have a blood test. But as always, most people are just full of hot air!
Rob Watson, Winchester, Hants

Of course people living in badly affected areas should get treatment at a democratic price. But what about education and prevention? Lots of work has to be done on that field especially when you have leaders telling local communities they should stay clear of condoms or having sex with young "virgins" in order to cure the disease.
Guy T

Easy, we need more adverts with icebergs in them! remember Aids - don't die of ignorance! That should do the trick.
Ken Hall, UK

Has anyone stopped to think that perhaps AIDS has evolved as a form of population control? Just maybe it is natures way of controlling an already overcrowded planet. You cannot fight nature and win.
B Oxford, UK

If you choose to have unprotected sex then you are volunteering yourself for HIV
I don't think the AIDS battle will ever be won. People are not taking enough responsibility for their own actions. If you choose to have unprotected sex then you are volunteering yourself for HIV, STI's or pregnancy. If people made the choice to use a condom then these problems would be dramatically reduced.

To say that the global war on Aids is being won, would be a huge lie based, on denial of facts. Continents like Asia, Africa and nations like China are a disaster waiting to happen. The way forward is for all nations of the world, rich and poor, to declare this disease a massive disaster that deserves as much attention as is being heaped on the "war on terror" and the environment. Otherwise, I foresee a bleak future.
Joseph Okurut, Kampala, Uganda

The battle against AIDS is being lost, and lost horrendously. We must act, as a global community to educate people in all countries. Yet again the UN has been almost ineffective here, and when you have incompetent governments, like that of Mbeki, who don't understand the crisis at, the need for the global community to act is increased.
Reuben Loffman, Lancaster, UK

Human sexuality is cynically exploited for sales
Alex, Winchester
Aids is indeed a complex subject with different causes in different cultures but a quick glance at the magazines on display in any newsagent in the UK will demonstrate the way human sexuality is cynically exploited for sales. A culture that promotes sex above relationship and freedom above faithfulness should hardly be surprised when decades of bad advice come home to roost.
Alex, Winchester

I've been living with HIV for 6yrs now. The drugs do work but much more is needed in Africa, but also at home. The side effects of the drugs have a huge impact on your day to day life, but its a small cost for being alive still.
Shaun, Milton Keynes, UK

I think we should all take responsibility for our own lives. Men in Africa must become more responsible. The world media must stop this hypocrisy of just highlighting Africa when we talk of AIDS. One of the key issues in Africa is poverty and ignorance among women particularly. Most of the well-to-do people all over the world can afford good medical care and nutrition to prolong their lives and continue infecting young vulnerable women. AIDS will soon explode in ASIA while in Africa if we continue educating the masses on its dangers we will further reduce the infection rate.
Trevor Simumba, Freetown, Sierra Leone

If we're going to fight an endless battle, wouldn't one against AIDS be more helpful to the world?
Sara, Delaware Oh, USA
The only way to stop the spread of AIDS is to fund more research and provide medicines and contraceptives for those who need them. Unfortunately the funds that should be going to causes like this are being used in a war that seems to have no end in sight. If we're going to fight an endless battle, wouldn't one against AIDS be more helpful to the world?
Sara, Delaware Oh, USA

We are not winning the battle against AIDS. The simple fact is that our leaders are not committed in the fight against AIDS, their ideas is to lay their hands on the funds to enrich themselves while the people are dying of AIDS. Africa is loosing human resources, sooner or later some Africa countries will not be in existence and the women and girls will be extinct. Our behavioural attitude must change if we want to succeed in the fight against AIDS.
Solade Nicol, Canada

The human sexual desire and pleasure is stronger then the consequence of getting HIV
Virginia, Canada
The human sexual desire and pleasure is stronger then the consequence of getting HIV. It is human nature to reproduce or have sex. This will be pandemic that will choose the undisciplined. Being a health care worker I have seen many who choose the wild life style and are quite proud of it even with the consequences . All the drugs in the world will not stop this pandemic, only abstinence from promiscuity, drug abuse and adultery.
Virginia, Canada

People here are blaming the pharmaceutical companies, but what about the unacceptable levels of rape in African countries? This is seen as culturally acceptable there but I don't think there is any excuse for rape. People wouldn't needs drugs if they weren't forcefully infected so often.
Nick, UK

The most effective tool to fight against AIDS is education. Condoms come later on.
Suraj Chhetri, Kathmandu, Nepal

To those who say sex is free, perhaps, they haven't considered what this "freedom" really does cost. In addition to HIV there has been a sharp increase in STD's and abortion. We are a society in trouble.
Penny, USA

To Penny, USA: Have you ever heard of condoms? We should enjoy sex with whoever we choose, but we must be responsible.
Shawn, Washington, DC, USA

Families, communities, hopes are being erased as we watch
E. Courage Maunze, Canada
When I first heard about AIDS it was a faceless disease. I didn't know anyone who had AIDS and neither could I tell who had AIDS. However, the disease has now settled and is spreading unabated, it has a face. You can actually tell who has AIDS by looking at someone's face. Families, communities, hopes are being erased as we watch. Clearly the battle has not been won. Rather, it is propagating and as World AIDS day approaches, the UN has even higher infection figures to show for all its undying efforts.
E. Courage Maunze, Zimbabwean, Canada

We can't win the war on something when that the majority of the population of the world does nothing but increase the enemies size!
Lyle Smith

Surely we are losing the war against AIDS. With the emergence of drugs, emphasis on education and awareness has dropped, and it seems to me this is a way to ensure the market for these drugs in the third world countries.
Eliamani Laltaika, Arusha-Tanzania

I think that we are losing the war on Aids
Alexander Bielecki, Toronto, Canada

I think that we are losing the war on Aids. The unsuccessful implementation of effective contraceptives is the product of the cultural differences between the "west" and Africa. Until the African people come to terms with the epidemic surrounding them I see no headway being made.
Alexander Bielecki, Toronto, Canada

Drug companies are not charities. They have staff to pay, buildings to buy, maintain etc. If they can't get a return on their investment they can't afford to research any drugs.
John, France

Do we have a cure? No! Then the AIDS battle is not won. It is still being waged. World-wide cheap available drugs to combat this disease would vastly improve odds of survival in the ravaged countries of the 3rd World. Those governments should just ignore the greedy multinationals and distribute generic drugs as fast as possible. Corporate greed equals agony and slow death.
Philip O'Donnell, Auckland, New Zealand

Awareness of this issue has not been reinforced since the last major campaign, which I recall was a good few years ago. People need to be educated about this virus continually and not just when we realise that the pandemic is on the increase.
Mary, Portsmouth, England

The global spread of Aids is the most serious problem in the world. It's rooted too deeply to get rid of, even in the rich countries. The crucial solution is that the governments show the number of infected people but don't reveal who they are. It is not about protecting their privacy but to protect the rest of people who will be in danger. It is a tragedy about Africa and poor countries but it is our responsibility to prohibit sex industries or selfish attitude to others.
Eiko Yasuharaee, Kyoto, Japan

Too many pharmaceutical companies are focusing on profit instead of health care
Doug Fisher, Asheville, USA

Is the battle even being fought? With the tremendous resources available, we as a race, read that human, are not doing enough to combat Aids. Too many pharmaceutical companies are focusing on profit instead of health care. Too many governments, the US included, are actively combating efforts to find cheaper sources for Aids and other drugs. Again, are we even fighting the battle?
Doug Fisher, Asheville, USA

I lost my aunt to Aids seven years ago and I think the fight against Aids has not been won yet. My point here is that, women all around the world and especially those in the poorest countries should not be the only ones blamed for the spread of Aids in those specific countries. Men tend to play a tangible role in spreading of Aids more than women.

For instance, men who are married often seek other sex partners. It is never enough and will never be enough for them to be committed to stay faithful and satisfied to the person they are married to or are dating. Maybe it's time we change that perspective and culture that tends to blame everything bad on women. Aids is everyone's problem in this century.
Riya, Phoenix, AZ

We need to get out of denial mode
Bharathi Ghanashyam, Bangalore, India
I have visited NGOs who are working on stemming the spread of HIV/Aids and this is my impression. We, the general population need to change our perceptions. We need to get out of denial mode, recognize that multi-partners, pre-marital sex and extra-marital sex are not conditions that will not affect 'us'. Get information out on time, to everybody. Do not wait till it is too late.
Bharathi Ghanashyam, Bangalore, India

We seem to be attempting to fight Aids independently of hunger. If we will make any meaningful impact in our fight against Aids we should simultaneously be fighting hunger. Undoubtedly the most endemic are the most hungry. If I'm hungry I'll sell the condom you have supplied me for food!
Tony Adams, Accra, Ghana

The Aids pandemic can be checked only if the rich nations of this world take an active interest in its prevention by contributing their mite in a more proactive manner. The IEC campaign has to be more real than has been the case hitherto. Political and religious leadership has to be involved in a big way. They have to impart knowledge about safe sex, and ensure delivery of blood which is free from the HIV virus and an ad campaign to prevent people from using needles and syringes that have already been used by the drug addicts and others. For this, countries like India have to have blood banks that are properly maintained without the element of corruption. It is a long haul.
MK Bajaj, Panchkula

While abstinence can slow the spread of HIV/Aids, it will never happen so long as the developing world's economies are agriculturally dependent thus enforcing the need for large families. The tragic result is a population explosion, tempered only by these horrific diseases.
David, Weymouth, UK

We need to invest more money in new prevention technologies
Gary, London
We need to invest more money in new prevention technologies such as Microbicides, Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP)and vaccine development. Medical interventions are a sure fire way of breaching the cultural divide and offer a second line of defence to condoms. This rationale would also challenge the fact that most of the new HIV diagnoses identified by the HPA in the UK are as a result of migration. If we hit the source hard we shall have a chance to not only reduce infection rates in the developing world but also those in more developed countries.
Gary, London

First of all, I don't know why I am seeing only the faces of black (presumably African) kids when we are talking about a global pandemic! That is precisely one of the main reasons why the victory against Aids is being delayed. Just today, it was announced that the rate of HIV infection in the north west of England has increased, with many more people living with the virus and not even knowing it. If the media (and this is not just the BBC) keep focusing on Africa, Asia etc, then the message doesn't go far enough. Perhaps your question really should be: "Is the UK/Western media in denial about HIV/Aids?"
Ngum Ngafor, Manchester, England

One of the major problems in looking at the Aids/HIV pandemic is the lack of hard information as to how many people are infected. It is very difficult in Third world countries for accurate figures to be found. To stop the increase in infected people we will have to modify peoples' attitude to sex and casual relationships.
Martin Husbands, Monmouth Wales

The problem with Aids is that the causes are different in the Third world, rather than Europe or America. In countries like Africa women contracted the disease through force and lack of education. They didn't know the risks involved. In Europe and America the problem is connected more with drugs and gay relationships. Contraception also has to be blamed. Condoms simply give people a false sense of security, and the lack of education in countries like Africa and China means people are simply unaware of the risks they take. Unlike the Western countries; who are either extremely unlucky or simply ignorant if they catch the HIV or Aids virus.
John Ritchie, Edinburgh, Scotland

Africa can win the battle against Aids if the US and Europe stop patronizing and do the right things. For starters, we need to develop our own prevention strategies that integrate abstinence, faithful partnerships and condom use. As to treatment, the bigger challenge is the lack of trained doctors and other health workers partly because the USA and Europe are taking them away. A case in point: the UK has recruitment offices in southern Africa who lure nurses to work in the UK without spending a penny on their education!
Ndalie, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

The time has come for our governments to press the panic button
Karthik Dinakar, Bangalore, India
I agree that Aids cannot be controlled by cheap drugs alone. I have visited two rural awareness camps as a part of my college youth service wing. People out in the rural areas have virtually no idea about Aids. Let alone knowing their rights about getting cheap drugs, they don't have the foggiest of ideas on how an HIV infection takes place. The time has come for our governments to press the panic button. It is either now or never.
Karthik Dinakar, Bangalore, India

The problem is over-population. Stop people having 13 children, and poverty will decrease. Decrease poverty and the numbers of people drowning their sorrows and misery with IV drug-use will diminish.

Education, healthy enlightened sexual attitudes, proper use of condoms and respect for one's partner are common-sense basics in the global fight against Aids. The development of antiviral drugs is a very positive sign. Let us hope they are affordable. Hope springs eternal!
Pancha Chandra, Brussels; Belgium

Aids is a disease spread largely by sexual activity with an infected partner. Therefore an obvious way of reducing the incidence of Aids is to reduce the level of unprotected sex and the number of sexual partners. Not trendy, not "modern", but it works. Why should I pay more in taxes to protect people from the consequences of their own actions?
Karl Peters, UK

Better quality and more quantity of sex education from an earlier age in all schools
Andrew, London, UK
Better quality and more quantity of sex education from an earlier age in all schools. I spoke recently to a 17-year-old boy who had no idea how to use a condom, knew nothing about the methods of HIV transmission, and did not know how to practice safe sex. What on earth are we doing allowing young people to "finish" their education, yet leaving them knowing nothing about how to protect their health. The conservative/religious objectors to sex education are guilty of letting this disease continue to spread without hindrance.
Andrew, London, UK

No, the battle against Aids is being lost in sub-Saharan Africa. Education is everything but unless women can be empowered there is no chance of success.
David, Reading, UK

Once again the Catholic Church is blamed for all the world's problems, despite doing more to help than any other body, and despite evidence to suggest that condom promotion simply promotes promiscuity and does not address the problems. Too much heat and not enough light as usual.
Paul, London, UK

A simple fact of life is that human beings enjoy having sex. It may make some sensitive, religious types cringe, but that is simply the way things are. Surely it would make more sense for the Catholic Church, and indeed all religions, to encourage the use of contraception even if they condemn the act itself?
Rich, UK

Because of the long period between infection and onset of symptoms there is a delay of several years in the perceived effects
Greg, US

The battle against Aids is clearly being lost. The governments of China, India, and Russia in particular are allowing Aids to get beyond control. How they can watch what has happened in Africa and not take measures to educate their people and control its spread is beyond me. Because of the long period between infection and onset of symptoms there is a delay of several years in the perceived effects of this pandemic.

Also because it tends to be societies' drug users, hookers, and convicts who are the first to die people are smug and say, "Serves them right". If the UN does nothing else it should insure that every person on this planet is aware of how Aids is spread and how to protect yourself. After that it is up to each person to make the right choices. Unless there is a sudden cure found Aids will be a world changing force as it weakens Asia in the 21st century.
Greg, US

We need to stop being so casual about sex. Abstinence and marital faithfulness is the only true cure.
Heather, Stockport

Until we tackle the still prevalent belief in the middle class that Aids is a disease for gays, then we will never win.
RS, Glasgow, UK

I hope that the battle is going to be won. Seeing the global awareness of people and the means invested in the research, I have strong confidence that the world will overcome this pandemic that takes too many lives everyday. I encourage the searchers and other involved institutions to work hand in hand to help make a better future for the next generation.
Mifoundou Kevin, Brazzaville, Congo

After all there are drug companies and governments and churches to blame after you've contracted the disease
David, Johannesburg

I stay in South Africa and so I don't think we in Africa should be patronised with most of the comments that I see here, as if we can't think for ourselves. Aids won't stop until the behaviour of people change. You can teach and blame and moralise and encourage condom use, but it won't solve anything. Most people go out to bars, get drunk, pick up sleeping partners and then have sex without condoms.

They don't worry about the consequences, after all there are drug companies and governments and churches to blame after you've contracted the disease. All these stories about people being raped and women not having a choice is just a load of rubbish. Only a few Aids sufferers got it that way, the overwhelming majority brought it upon themselves.
David, Johannesburg, South Africa

In the UK almost one in every 1,000 people is now infected with HIV! This is staggering considering we are deemed to be a low risk country. This alone shows that the battle against Aids is clearly being lost. If we are unable to educate our own population we are certainly not going to make headway in the Third world where the disease is rampant.
Graham Silversides, Kensington, London, UK

Their confidence grows with a little encouragement
Delphi Durrant, Kolkata, India
I am a British businesswoman taking time out for VSO as a business development advisor for a small HIV/Aids charity in Kolkata (Calcutta). All of my colleagues are HIV positive and many of them young widows. The status of widows in India is extremely low as they become the possession of their late husband's family and are not able to live an independent life.

I have watched these beautiful young girls begin to understand their basic human rights and fight for justice within India, fighting for the right to work, for access to affordable anti-retroviral drugs and the right to lead a normal life. Their confidence grows with a little encouragement and they begin to understand that they have a voice and that voice can affect the future of all women living with HIV/Aids.
Delphi Durrant, Kolkata, India

I find it really quite alarming that the HIV/Aids problem is not improving but actually worsening yet the media (and the populace) in the States have resorted to apathy to clear their collective consciousness. The facts, when displayed, testify with alacrity that this problem is far from being solved, especially in the Third world countries. Perhaps, if the US media were to cast an eye upon Africa and her problems, the problem would become apparent to all and more might devote resources to help the world-wide fight against Aids.
Edward Needham, Las Vegas, USA

The best vaccine against Aids is a combination of education and faith in the future. If people miss out on either of these two they will behave recklessly.
Harriet, Singapore

There has been a lot of progress in the battle against HIV/Aids. What I feel should be done, however, is that the homophobia that often accompanies apprehension about HIV/Aids should be shattered. By shattering homophobia, we can help eradicate HIV/Aids throughout the world.
Alex Sarmiento, Vallejo, California, USA

No! The battle against Aids is not being won, it's obvious from the increasing numbers of people who get Aids. It's a world responsibility and all countries should help wherever they can to eradicate it!
Terence Gaffney, Sunderland, England

The battle is not being won. It is being managed. The best one can do is educate people, and make medication available. Until we have a cure or vaccine, the battle will continue.
Mark, Vancouver, Canada

Teach more abstinence
Mike Daly, Miami, FL, USA

Teach more abstinence, not popular, but if you want to win the battle against Aids - there's the weapon that will win it. I believe the US was criticized unmercifully when it included the teaching of abstinence in its Aids package. Say what you want about it being an unrealistic goal - but if you want to defeat Aids - abstinence has to be a weapon - without it, the spread of Aids will always spread. It's that simple.
Mike Daly, Miami, FL, USA

I'm sure if America spent as much money trying to combat Aids, as they did making weapons to kill people, the problem would have been solved years ago.

At first the HIV/Aids panic brought a high profile, but ultimately apathy replaced it. It's hard to see how the plight of the African nations will ever be able to regain that high profile in the West where nimby is still the yardstick of compassion.
Keith, US/UK

The global battle against Aids could be won if "everyone" (not only women, but men too), knows about the disease. The government should invest in procedures to warn and educate more. They also need to combat poverty together in various countries. We can see a lot of pregnant teenagers. Are children being well educated? I don't think so. Education and consciousness are crucial not to have unpleasant surprises.
Raquel, Brazil

Equity and equality can cure HIV/Aids
Glenn, Paramaribo, Suriname

Aids is directly related to poverty. As long as the human beings in the developed countries keep robbing their fellow human beings in the developing countries of the bare necessities, without any feeling of guilt, problems like HIV/Aids will be rampage. Equity and equality can cure HIV/Aids, because health education will be done better and people will have the options for more healthy choices and funds to purchase the necessary medication. It is not by accident that the poor and women are more infected and affected by HIV/Aids.
Glenn, Paramaribo, Suriname

What about the Aids epidemic in the United States? Why don't we not worry about Africa and take care of our own first? We've got hungry people going to sleep under bridges, too! Charity starts at home!
Matt, North Carolina, USA

Poverty, ignorance and exploitation are the key issues to tackle if Aids is to be brought under control. People need to be educated, emancipated and given viable economic alternatives.
Rumbidzayi, Zimbabwean in the Diaspora

There is no simple solution that can be imposed, but in Uganda they have achieved considerable success by education, condom use and strong guidance about sexual faithfulness. I note that many posters criticise the Catholic Church for objecting to condoms, but none criticise Thabo Mbeki the South African president, who has denied the viral cause of Aids. I think we are doing Africans no favours by letting Mbeki off the hook.
Stephen, Hampshire

No we are not winning and cheap drugs won't do it. Education and a moral standing against rapists in the world may help those of future generations for others it is already to late.
Carole, UK

It's not going to stop. In fact there are now strains starting to show up that are resistant to the medicines we use.
David, Portland, USA

The problem is not medical, it is cultural
Matt Munro, Bristol, UK

The problem is not medical, it is cultural. All the drugs in the world will not solve the problem unless the population is educated in sexual health. This will not happen as liberals will claim it is "blaming the victim".
Matt Munro, Bristol, UK

No, the battle against AIDS is not being won. The west is determined to impose the economic conditions of globalization on Africa and the effect is to marginalize, even more, the poorest parts of that continent. AIDS is part of this larger problem which will not be solved without the political will to put human welfare above the profit motive. Unfortunately, I see few signs of such will among our political leaders.
Tom Hunsberger, Canadian in Mexico

I believe the increase in Aids and HIV is purely down to a changing society. Women and young girls these days are, in general, are more "loose" than they were yesteryear and the more they experiment with different partners the more likely the virus is to spread. You only have to look at holiday programmes to see where I'm coming from. Yes I sympathise but you can't help people who won't help themselves. If they were mature and sensible in the first place it could all be avoided.
Jon Brown, Essex

Jon Brown of Essex. How dare you suggest the spread of Aids is caused by promiscuity in women. Who do you suppose they are having sex with? Men have equal responsibility in insuring they wear a condom before getting together with these "loose" women!
Vicky, Exeter

It's archaic and prim attitudes about morality and 'women's looseness' that really don't help a matter that is serious, complex and epidemic.
Wendy, UK

Many women who have Aids got it from men who raped them or exploited their poverty
S Burns, UK

Oh Jon, you daft man. Many women who have Aids got it from men who raped them or exploited their poverty; it was their only way to get a living. Even in the west, girls often sleep with men because it's the only way to keep a boyfriend, not because it's fun which frankly it generally isn't. It's men's behaviour that needs addressing.
S Burns, UK

Jon Brown of Essex must not realize that in many parts of Africa, women have little or no say in matters regarding sex. Rapes are not reported, as many communities shun rape victims, while young women are "sold" as wives, with little or no say in the matter. Until cultural changes take place and women are empowered to be more than commodities, little will change in the places that need change most.
Mike L, Akron, USA

To answer Jon Brown, These young girls in Africa aren't "looser" as you put it... They are being raped and taken advantage of by uneducated, misinformed insecure males acting out of fear and ignorance. Education, and lots of it as soon as possible, is all that is going to halt this tragedy.
Ian Gavet, San Francisco, USA

The teenage pregnancy rate in Europe is clear evidence that, even in relatively well educated parts of the world, people are continuing with unprotected sex without worrying about any of the consequences. The battle to restrict the spread of HIV is sadly being lost on an alarming scale.
Angela C, London, UK

There would have to be some enforceable and stringent punishment of rapists that is local or is global
Kate, Spain

Huge percentages of women and girls in Rwanda, Malawi, DRC, Sudan, Burundi, etc. are infected because of rape policies and practices of militias (both official and rebel). There would have to be some enforceable and stringent punishment of rapists that is local or is global. Rape is a war crime. And it is as much a crime to kill women (and often their engendered young) slowly through HIV as to take them out and shoot them. Many who have been raped would argue it is worse.

It would be a great step to bring cheap antibiotics to children in Africa, but the fact that many tens of thousands of young girls must engage in 'survival prostitution' in order to feed their younger weaker siblings one meal a day also points to an overwhelming need for economic mercy to the poor of this world, on the part of people like ourselves, who have a full refrigerator and medical services.
Kate, Spain

Before we can say the war is being won we need to see an integrated approach where poverty is seen as a key enemy
Dave Turner, South Africa

Clearly the battle against HIV/Aids is not being won. Advances in education are not necessarily translating into adjusted/safer sexual practises. In addition widespread use of ARV should be linked to strict measuring of treatment compliance. Before we can say the war is being won we need to see an integrated approach where poverty is seen as a key enemy and matters such as sanitation are incorporated as vital components of the battle. While the poor suffer and die in abominable conditions and the rich remain inoculated from this suffering by matters such as ignorance, economic and geographic partitioning the war cannot be won.
Dave Turner, South Africa

Let us change the way we treat and perceive our women, then the fight against Aids will be half won.
Hankie Uluko, Nairobi, Kenya

No doubt there will be a lot of people complaining that the 'evil' drug companies should make their drugs for nothing to help out. Of course, this is missing the point, as drugs only slow the progression of the disease, not eradicate it, cure it, or stop it being passed on. Behaviour needs to be addressed, and while the Catholic Church is pedalling its lies that condoms don't stop the transmission of HIV then things won't get better, whether free drugs are available or not.
Jo, UK

Aids is now seen as a mostly serious global epidemic, which is spreading further than Africa and Asia. Most of the big economies could put far more effort into combating Aids. There are I'm sure labs out there that probably have a cure of vaccine, but corruption will keep that quiet. Put simply, if this epidemic is not slowed down or eradicated than we'll see mass death around the whole world in the next 10-15 years.
Ben, Kintbury, Berks, UK

Education is vitally important if the people are going to understand how they can protect themselves from Aids in their daily lives. We can tank them up with drugs all we like but if they are still having unprotected sex and using contaminated supplies, then nothing can help them.
Elaine, London, UK

To reduce the increase in HIV in most parts of the world would entail changing the culture. You can imagine the uproar that would cause. In Africa there is another enemy of education. The Catholic church which is busily undermining the condom strategy.
John, France

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