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Leo de Clerq, Antwerp, Belgium
"I think education is only possible if sexual behaviour is a debatable subject."
 real 28k

Pete Donnelly, South Africa
"They know it kills and they know how it is transmitted."
 real 28k

Jambunathan Narayan, Belgium
"A whole generation is being devastated in Africa."
 real 28k

Sarah Williams, Italy
"It seemed to me sending a very dangerous message to Hungarians, that only foreigners bring Aids into the country."
 real 28k

Virginia Welsh, Cape Town, South Africa
"The South African epidemic is one of the worst in the world."
 real 28k

Thursday, 9 December, 1999, 10:15 GMT
Aids: What can be done?

Aids is a deadly disease and in Africa causes more deaths than anything else.

Aids Special Report
Do you or anyone you know have Aids? How does society view the disease where you live?

We have taken your emails and telephone calls on the subject.

Select the link below to watch Talking Point On Air

Click here to tell us what you think.

Your comments since the programme

Does a Jumbo Jet load of people die from AIDS every month? I think not but that is how many people are killed on the roads! Enough said.

Limit your sexual relations to one partner who is reliable. Don't play with sexual desires. That would be the most generous way to cope with spreading sexual diseases.
Sanjeeva, Sri Lanka

Whether we in the developed world are responsible is irrelevant, but we should ask our- selves 'can we help and how much do we help?
It's ok to say let's educate the people (as if they haven't sussed out the basic lesson of protection). However, people seem to forget the transmission through blood transfusions. In the developed world there are unfortunate accidents which can lead to big court battles, however this could be a more regular case in the developing world where sterilising equipment is less readily available. If we can provide aid in finance and/or education, then we as the more fortunate countries, should.
It also seems like people like to blame religion for the AIDS problem. Well rarely do religions promote promiscuous sex. Maybe if sex was taken as seriously as is regarded in religion, people would take time and precautions with the person they're sleeping in the first place before relying on the not-so-100%-safe condom, and really prevent AIDS spreading as much!
Naychure, UK

To Bill McCarty and his highly offensive viewpoint: Isn't cancer something which is often self-inflicted as well? People get lung and mouth cancer from smoking, bowel cancer from eating unhealthily etc. Is AIDS somehow different to you because it is often sexually transmitted? Don't penalise people because you have a hang-up about sex.
Mark Newman, England

In Islam condom promotion is not prohibited but disfavoured. That means condom can be used as a method of birth control. Islam is hesitant about using it for STDs as this could mean permitting promiscuity. But Islam is the most practical religion, so the answer is clear. I feel for the Catholics in their pursuit, but they would always remain impractical compared to Islam.
Dr Faiyaz Karim MBBS MPH, Bangladesh

You can get condoms free in the UK - just go into your local health centre and ask for them. It should be this way all over the world. I don't believe for one moment that AIDS is "self-inflicted". I very much doubt that anyone ever walks out of their door thinking "I think I will go out and contract AIDS today".
I'm not gay (or HIV positive), and I can't say I am a huge supporter of gay men and women, but I have a number of very good friends who are gay. There is nothing wrong with my friends. They just have differences to me in some areas of their life. It's not their fault and it's not a disease. You can not "cure" gay people by taking them to church or therapy against their wishes!
The problem that needs to be addressed is not one of whether being gay is right or wrong - it's about educating people (both homosexual at heterosexual) about what they need to do to protect themselves. Talk to your kids. Don't just talk about condoms as a way of preventing pregnancy. Make those free condoms more readily available.
Rachel, USA (British Citizen)

Scrap Section 28, allow education on safe sex for young gay teenagers in school and let's have a proper, pragmatic and sensible approach to tackling the issue of HIV/AIDS.

Sarah, England
I am a heterosexual woman who shares a flat with an HIV positive gay man and it's a shame there does not seem to be more personal experience in these comments. The religious commentary seems to be taken from some romantic notion that we would be better off under the harsh moral code of the Victorians where sex was never discussed. This is ridiculous.
The high number of deaths from syphilis and other STIs prove that sexual behaviour - homosexual or heterosexual has not really changed that much. What we need is realism. Certainly in the west, there is a whole generation of gay men who have grown up without the scare of the eighties and who now seem to think HIV/AIDS is no longer a threat - this is true of my flatmate.
Please please understand that it is a threat - scrap Section 28, allow education on safe sex for young gay teenagers in school and let's have a proper, pragmatic and sensible approach to tackling the issue of HIV/AIDS both in the west and in developing countries. Preaching abstinence doesn't work and never has worked.
Sarah, England

It's a politicised disease that gets more attention than it deserves. Put the money into cancer and heart disease. Not on something which is largely a choice by those who have it.
Bill McCarty, USA

Najmy Brax is wrong in asserting that the incidence of AIDS in the Middle East is low. Having been in medicine the region, I know that it is far more prevalent than the authorities admit. It is covered up to give the impression that theirs is a pious and good Muslim nation. Denial is the greatest danger of all.
John Atkins, Singapore

Prevention is the only way out in controlling AIDS and this can be done by:
1.Compulsory education on prevention from secondary/middle school level.
2. Free availability & distribution of condoms.
By making it compulsory for the nations & companies exporting arms to donate condoms of equivalent value enough free condoms can be made available to the poor masses of developing world.
Alok, Jos, Nigeria

It seems that since the first drive to educate people into understanding HIV in the early 80's, that there has been a go slow on reminding the world of its existence. Can't we have ongoing reports as to its prevalence?
Viveka, London, England

The main subject of the topic is that most people out there know about Aids but when the time comes and sex happens - in most poor countries the last thing on our mind is using a condom, even if they where free. I think that most people wouldn't use them.
Gary, UK

The money being spent on researching this essentially self-inflicted illness would be better diverted to treating cancer, which can strike even those people who take their own health seriously.
Ian Lowe, Scotland, UK

Aids is our own invention, a biological weapon. But this weapon is effective only where God's law does not apply. The nudity, striptease, pornography, adult movies and the like are tempting each of us daily. The education should first be that all this will lead to sin and the end result is tragic death. If one is faithful to have sex only with his wedded partner, for good or worse, humanity will be better off without Aids or any other monster that may follow. Let us not publicise "Have safe sex. Use condoms." Instead let us advertise "Be faithful. Have sex with your married partner only. If you think you have aids, do a service by abstaining from sex or by making sure you use condoms to prevent the disease getting transmitted."
Thomas Mathai, Egypt

Tell the churches and the mosques to SHUT UP! Then educate, educate, educate. Education is the key.
Joe, England

Aids is a phenomena that threatens man and woman kind. Government's must devote increased resources to finding a cure and of course educating their populations in order to limit the spread of the disease. It is shocking still to find young women still willing to engage in unprotected sex. More educational programs need to be initiated to change behaviour.

Forget education, people are too selfish, self absorbed and/or stupid to take advice. Focus now has to be on combating the disease medically.
Gerry, Scotland

Given the current world Aids epidemic, no one should have the right to claim intellectual property rights for drugs to treat the disease.

Jesse Lynch, Prague, Czech Republic
Given the current world Aids epidemic, no one should have the right to claim intellectual property rights for drugs to treat the disease. The people who have discovered these medicines, should of course be rewarded for their discoveries, but if the cost of producing these drugs is really not so high, the drugs should be made available to people all over the world who need them. After all, this is a global epidemic. Countries such as India, which you mentioned as an example, should be encouraged to develop these drugs. No rich countries should be allowed to demand payment from the developing countries that need the drugs more than anyone else.
Jesse Lynch, Prague, Czech Republic

With all the best intentions in the world there are many places that will not address the Aids issue until the problem is so chronic that it affects a large majority of the population. By then many of these countries are too poor to re-educate and protect their citizens.
Glenn Hinks, Gahanna, Ohio, USA

Governments in Africa should target female sex of the most affected age group (18-35yrs) who are in school or unemployed. This target group should be paid stipend monthly to reduce their dependence on the older men who promise them material money to have sex with them.
Amaechi Onuorah, Accra, Ghana

As a gay male who has live this far without contracting HIV it seems to me that one of the best options of prevention is education and awareness. The focus that has worked so well here is community awareness. The Gay men's health movement has work long and hard to help people identify their risk behaviours and know how to reduce and eliminate those factors on a personal level. As for treatment, drug patents held by western drug companies are killing the developing world in favour of profit.
David Fisher, US

The statistics being released by governments throughout the world, especially those countries reflecting minimal rates of HIV/AIDS infection must be viewed sceptically. In particular, I wish to address Najmy Brax's comments, insinuating that Middle Eastern values supporting monogamous relationships and discouraging drugs are responsible for low rates of HIV infection in this region. Official governmental statistics released in the Middle East conflict with those of NGOs and international organisations that are created specifically to monitor HIV/AIDS rates. In this world of global communications and fast planes, train, and automobiles, no country is immune... including those countries whose citizens demand chastity and monogamy on paper but fail to live up to such expectations in reality.
Claire, New York City

As a South African currently working in Canada, I feel that the developed countries should contribute much more to the prevention and treatment of AIDS in developing countries. They should also persuade the SA goverment to use AZT in pregnant mothers as this will decrease the transmission rates. Governments of countries with high prevalence should also be forced to recognise the epidemic and its associated problems.
Glenn Loyson, Canada

As a man of the church, I don't seek to judge others - that is God's job, and in this plague God has judged homosexuality, drug abuse and sexual promiscuity to be wrong. What can we do about it? Well, if you are a drug user, or you are having homosexual urges, then you should contact the church where someone will help you. Condoms may protect the promiscuous, but they will not protect the wrong-doers.
Rev. Peter Green, England

Well one solution would be to give away condoms instead of the ridiculous prices they charge right now. Having safe sex is an expensive business and it is the job of governments of the world to fund prevention schemes, not those who can afford it whilst those who cant go without and end up in potentially life-threatening situations.
James Newman, England

First legalise the oldest profession so that people can go and get their happiness with medical assurance. The government must intervene for this.
Leslie Kumara, Sri Lanka

My friend works in a sexually-oriented bathhouse where many of the customers are obviously HIV-infected. Even though condoms are provided and plentiful, he claims that many men who frequent the place fail to use them. Sad to say, many of the HIV-infected must have no compassionate regard for their casual sex partners. True, they are ill, or going to be, and most of us feel for them, but rather than letting their lives reflect the despair they must be feeling, would it not be better for them to protect their partners from their own horrifying prospects?
Edward Costello, USA

I am from India. Here the problems are of a different scale and nature altogether. The majority of the people who are infected with aids don't even know the meaning or have the slightest idea what 'AIDS' is! In a country like India, with a large uneducated population, what are measures to be followed?
Sonali, India

Wear a condom and get the Catholic Church to endorse condoms!

I would like to point out that the low number of Aids related cases in the countries such as the middle eastern countries that condemn sex outside marriage and the use of drugs, proves the effectiveness of moral standard in combating this problem.
Najmy Brax

I think AIDS in Poland is being paid attention much more. The government is making every effort to spread the word of the dangers of AIDS and how to prevent it.
Kuba, Krakow, Poland

I would like to say I found the programme on the world service very interesting. Especially the discussion about how to provide research companies with the motivation to create drugs if they can no longer make enormous money sums for it. I thought that curing ill people was motivation enough. I feel the western countries do have the responsibility to help the underdeveloped countries deal with this problem-out of humanitarian reasons. And about the "wild theories" concerning the possibility that this disease was created deliberately as a method of population control... Well I do not know for sure that it is true but it is the generally accepted opinion where I am living at the moment. In any case this disease is suspiciously effective in solving several population and social problems.
Vivien Cooksley, Cyprus-Austria

Your comments during the programme

I think your guest speaker shows a dismissive attitude towards the place of morality in the countering of the AIDS epidemic, in particular in the reference that he made to the boom towns where the incidence of the disease is the greatest. What the juxtaposition of very rich with very poor populations in boom towns also indicates, however, is that disparity of economic resources encourages the rich to exploit the poor sexually as well as in other ways, and that one way of resisting exploitation is for people to be educated into recognising exploitation for what it is, and that means improving their moral education, in particular about human dignity, which includes the place of sexuality in the maintenance and passing on of that sense of dignity from generation to generation.
Dan Wade

I just heard you say there is a need for more education but I think education is only possible if sexual behaviour is a debatable subject. Recently we heard on the news that Mugabe of Zimbabwe has called homosexuals less than dogs and pigs. Aids started off as a gay plague. If you treat Aids as an undebatable subject you cannot effectively treat Aids or even inform people.
Leo de Clercq, Antwerp, Belgium

It is awful throughout Africa. It is an awful problem in Ethiopia - 50% of the hospital beds are occupied with people dying with aids. About 27% of pregnant women going to anti-natal clinics are HIV positive. I'm a science teacher and I've taught about Aids and STD's in general and I know that most people know about Aids. They know it kills and they know how it is transmitted. I worked with Aids orphans in Addis Ababa with an incredible organisation called the Medical Mission for Mary but they just can't cope any more.
Peter Donnelly, South Africa

Teenagers don't seem to have taken the message on board.

Sylvie, France
It is a sad fact, but in France, teenagers don't seem to have taken the message on board, despite 10 years of constant information. Asked recently if she was being careful, my 15 year old niece replied "of course, Mum, I do take the pill". What can be done if young people continue to think "of course it only happens to other people". By the way, a girl is my niece's class has Aids.
Sylvie, France

A whole generation is being devastated in Africa and it is going to affect them economically The medicines that are being made available in the western world are not being made available in African countries by the multi-national countries. They are saying they have invested a lot of money in the research and development of these drugs but the actual cost of the production of these drugs is not great.
Jambunathan Narayan, Belgium

I lived in Hungary for five years between 1992 and 1997 and in order to renew my residence permit and work permit I had to produce a negative Aids test. I did this in 1994. After that I was allowed to travel freely. I could cross a border any time I wanted and I did. Any tourist can just walk into Hungary - particularly sex tourists, for example - without any kind of test whatsoever. So it struck me as an incredible paradox that I got tested once and tourists don't get tested at all. It seemed to me sending a very dangerous message to Hungarians, that only foreigners bring Aids into the country.
Sarah Williams, Bolzano, Italy

Prevention is the only way out in controlling AIDS and this can be done by :
1.Compulsory Education on prevention from Secondary/Middle School Level.
2. Free availability & distribution of condoms. By making it compulsory for the nations & companies exporting arms to donate condoms of equivalent value enough free condoms can be made available to the poor masses of developing world.
Alok, Jos, Nigeria

With all the best intentions in the world there are many places that will not address the "aids" issues until the problem is so chronic that it effects a large majority of the population. Then once the issue is addressed many of these countries are to poor to re-educate and protect their citizens.
Glenn Hinks, Ohio, USA

Developed countries are not really concerned about the situation in Africa, or the developing countries in general. It's just statistical when talking about it, they have the cure for their people and that is good enough. For, if they don't want to stop the wars in Africa anyway,why should they work to stop this disease.
Salah Elamin Maputo, Mozambique.

The South African epidemic is one of the worst in the world. In 1998, anti-natal statistics gave the figure of 22.8% of women going to those clinics were infected and I expect the figure is higher this year.
Virginia Welsh, Cape Town, South Africa

When a leading church in the world is so irresponsible how are we ever going to stop the spread of this awful disease?

Roy Culley
Just a couple of points. Recently I heard, on the BBC world service of course, that Thai people are unable to have aids treatment even though companies within Thailand can produce the drugs required at a price Thai people could afford. Why cannot they get these drugs? Because the companies who developed these drugs will not allow them to be sold at a low price. This I find deplorable.

My second point is how the Catholic church can continue to campaign against birth control. This means that many people, most especially in the third world, must choose between committing a sin when protecting themselves or expose themselves to all sexually transmitted diseases. When a leading church in the world is so irresponsible how are we ever going to stop the spread of this awful disease.
Roy Culley

I have personally lost two brothers and several close relatives and the pain and stigma remains for a long time.The spread in these cases has been due to cultures which are outdated i.e wife inheritance. The time is now ripe for all to take this monster head on and stop the hide and seek game that our politicians have played for so long.The denial syndrome that for a long time was perfected in Kenya has seen the escalation of this problem to extent that 500 victims die daily. We need help and we need it fast from our Western friends.Please do not expose us to conditions as you do for aid money which quite frankly has been squandered.There is an urgent need to creat awareness of the dangers and where the damage is already done, we need to set up projects to help the orphans and widows.

Your comments before we went ON AIR

Western Governments put out a challenge (with rewards) to advertising companies to send teams over to several African countries to study local norms, and use their extensive experience to develop, together with local people, radio ads, radio soap operas that capture the minds and hearts of the people that hear them, and change attitudes and behaviour in that manner.

Condom manufacturers could initiate this on their own, as they benefit directly in the end, maybe they should be guaranteed purchases from UN agencies commensurate with their successes.
Josh, Israel

I just would like to be informed how can I avoid getting AIDS. I would be thankful if you can help. THANKS
Mohamed Jaffar Al Tooq, State of Bahran

As far as AIDS is concerned there is no cure for it. The only tool we have on hand is preventive measure. Therefore, public education and encouragement for changes in life style that would expose people to this deadly virus. The problem is, many African leaders are not accountable to their people. If you look at Ethiopia as an example the leaders of this country are not accountable to the mass. They are for the Tigrai region. Reliable sources from that country say there is more public awareness about AIDS in Tigrai than in the capital (Addis Abeba). It would be very interesting if Western countries funded a radio broadcasting program me that would teach about the AIDS awareness in different languages of Africa.
Boru, Canada

My opinion is that most western leaders don't care what happens in other countries, especially if they are poor and have little political clout (if you doubt this look at WTO talks in Seattle).
Katherine, UK

Even the word on the street should clue most people in to the fact that if you have sex, with someone you don't know, you're bound to wind up with some disease or pregnant. So is SEX worth all that. Ask yourself, what are you teaching your kids about SEX.SEX is dangerous to your health; if not in a monogamous relationship. Can't Africans understand that if you have that many sexual partners, the same sickness will affect everyone. HOW HARD IS THAT?
Melanie, Alaska-USA

I have recently become involved with the HIV/AIDS issue by deciding to make a documentary about a herbal treatment that originates in India. Thousands of Indian HIV sufferers are buying this herbal medicine because it is the only medicine that they can afford. Does it work ? An independent pilot trial was undertaken earlier this year and the subsequent research paper will be offered for publication later this year. The paper presents strong evidence that this herbal concoction is having a significant effect in reversing symptoms. I think there is a strong case for further research but the chances of getting the funding remains slim because of the medical establishments distrust of complimentary medicine.
Graham Day, UK

Can somebody throw some light on the increasingly credible theory that the AIDS virus originated in a lab in the West? Just suppose it is true...I hate to imagine!!
Emmano Lupi, Italy

There is so much of money spent in the campaign against this scourge but there seems to be little attempt to get to the real bottom line of the whole issue. Our campaigns put greater emphasis on "use condoms" campaign. But I think the starting point in combating this whole mess must be a determination to reach the core of the human hearts. The morals that govern sex, the principle method through which AIDS is spread, have become extensively abused that humanity now is sometimes sexually worse than the sexual beasts. There is only one strong point on which the control of the spread of this scourge can be achieved, and that is "Chastity - the fact that no sex outside marriage, period.
Vahid Oloro, Kenya

Lets face it folks, we have never been able to cure a virus. That's not to say that we won't do it someday, but the simple fact is that the only way that we are going to beat this thing is through a strong dose of intelligence and personal responsibility. Learn about it, do what has to be done not to get it, or if you have it, be responsible and take the proper actions to prevent it's spread.
Nathan, USA

I find it alarming that so many "affluent westerners" are still very very ignorant to the facts. Many of the statements on this "talking point" refer to religious beliefs or homosexuality. Obviously the message is not getting through to some people!! Please tell me that there are other people out there who understand that AIDS is not spread solely by sexual relations!!!
Rebecca, England

There still seems to be a general western attitude that AIDS is a diseases which primarily affects homosexuals. Recent figures now show that the number of heterosexuals who have contracted AIDS is now outstripping homosexuals. Previous government campaigns have only sort to marginalise high-risk groups, without addressing the fact that AIDS can be contracted regardless of gender. The Third World's needs outweigh any awareness at present. More money should be put into finding a cure or at the minimum, a treatment to retard or arrest the disease. TV & leaflet campaigns complement this research but a concerted world-wide effort needs to take place whilst considering local, religious & cultural differences.
David Wilkinson, UK

It is up to the political and religious leaders of Africa to decide if they want their so-called brothers and sisters to die from ignorance, or if they actually want to help their people for a change instead of just helping themselves. Contracting HIV is not inevitable, the preventative methods are very basic and very easy and relatively cheap. Once aware of the dangers only the selfish and the stupid (with the occasional accident) become infected. These African religious and political leaders have the blood of millions on their hands.
Graeme, UK

Aids is a dreadful disease. It is one of the many killer diseases that afflict mankind. However it does get a disproportionate coverage in the media, heart disease and cancer kill far more people in the UK than Aids, these diseases should get more coverage. The question of Aids in other countries is a separate issue, here we must decide how much UK resources should be put into fighting disease abroad. In that respect it is no different morally from fighting the other big killers malaria, starvation and dehydration. And in that respect we should put our limited resources to best use, and put bluntly that means making as big an improvement as possible to as many people as we can. If that turns out to be fighting Aids, then fine so be it. If we can better fight other causes of death then we should give priority to fighting those. Aids is not a unique disease it is one of many.
Andrew Torrance, Wales , UK

Religions which point blank refuse to allow the use of contraception and birth control are to blame.
Iain, UK

Yes AIDS is a terrible disease, yes we must do something about it, yes there must be research on finding a cure. Yada yada yada. A lot of money is spent on AIDS research, but let's face it, prevention is better than cure. We know how to prevent it. I think money should be redirected into diseases like cancer where there is no known cause so a cure is more imperative. The money spent on breast cancer research is a pittance compared to the funding for AIDS. I worked as a care assistant for terminally ill patients in the early 90s and if someone had AIDS they were entitled to round the clock care (even if they could afford to pay for it themselves). Someone with breast cancer was entitled to two hours a day nursing assistance. That is a deplorable state of affairs. The bottom line is that AIDS affects mostly men and because men run the health care/government they will always look after themselves first. I agree that AIDS is a priority, but it is not the ONLY priority. It has a big enough piece of the pie already.
Kate, UK

Educate the people in the high-risk category. I think this is the only solution to AIDS. In India, perhaps the tribal and the lower class people should be made to see AIDS as a Demon which can be vanquished only by unity, if not medically. Then and then only will the lowly people understand the danger of this "demon"
Amit, India

We must change our attitude towards sex. Western world is obsessed with it, where the adult movie industry is worth $5bn in the US alone. Being a Muslim I can't help but think that religion has much to do with it. As more and more westerners are becoming "religion less" (atheists) people have less and less morals. Every person is defining his/her own morals and his/her own limits. Religious education, regardless of which religion it is, plays a big part in human life. In the end, only education (religious or otherwise) will make a difference. By the way, have you noticed, most of the Muslim countries don't have this problem as big as other countries do, although one might argue otherwise, this was just a casual observation!
Omar, USA

Aids is casting a gigantic shadow on the African continent, while the world watches on, Africans are fighting a war they are finding impossible to win.
Hewitt Alaak, Australia

It is not enough to apportion blame upon percieved originators of the disease. Whether a deliberate laboratory invention to wipe out the Peoples of black Africa or a genuine new disease with little understanding from the fraternity of the medical profession is besides the point.
However it is incumbent on us to look at the disease with open minds; to study its life cycle and characteristics so as to develop an an effective remedial and preventive approach, to allocate in our budget proposals, funds to strengthen structural and institutional weakness in our societies regarding sex and sexuality, cater for those living with the disease and affected by it. These programmes notably, should emphasise educational programs aimed at the most vulnerable groups and society at large. We should preach for behavioural change using the most concerted of efforts on all mass media.
Patience will certainly pay.
And yet we must also stop the stigmatisation syndrome that is a common reaction especially in those countries that are coming to terms with the disease; and practice love and compassion to the afflicted, giving them means of production even in their suffering. AIDS is real. It has the potential to wipe out entire economies. To say an entire continent is not to exaggerate but emphasise the threat.
Geria Richard, Uganda

Here's a novel idea, how about abstinence? It has nothing to do with morals, or religion or personal values. It's just plain common sense. That would drastically reduce the spread of aids.
Arran, Texas, USA

I am not sure how we are going to educate the African people about the dangers of AIDs . It is easy to see why education has worked so well in this country with TV campaigns and leaflets through the letterbox of every household , but in Africa things are very different . Not only do the Africans not have many of the things we take for granted (such as TV) the very fact that they don't have safe forms of entertainment leads them to seek pleasure in more traditional ways .
Jimmy Riddle, UK

In some cases condoms are not durable enough (even the ones with high qualities). But using a condom would be the best way of preventing such diseases. But, you guys, must have less sex with backstreet girls (prostitutes or whatever they are). National mentality plays a great role as well.
Dior, Uzbekistan

As for the developed world, there is little or no excuse for anybody to contract AIDS these days ... unless they're in a coma!

Mark M. Newdick, USA/UK
Obviously, education is the key, but I sort of object to the loaded part of your question "Is the west letting down the developing world by allowing Aids to affect so many lives?" ... excuse me, but I am "allowing" nobody to do any such thing and I refuse to accept guilt (or praise) on the subject. On the contrary, in the developing world, if they spent a little more on prevention and drugs, and a little less on arms and war, maybe they might be able to get their arms around the problem. As for the developed world, there is little or no excuse for anybody to contract AIDS these days ... unless they're in a coma!
Mark M. Newdick, USA/UK

As a gay man living with HIV for eight years, I consider myself extremely fortunate living in a rich European country with a well-informed, free health service. Without a doubt the treatment I have received here has kept me alive. My heart goes out to all those suffering from AIDS and HIV in the developing world.
I can only reiterate the views expressed on this forum that education is the immediate answer and an end to intolerance from the very religions that purport to be "pro-life". However we must not become too complacent in here the UK and the rest of the developed world.
Love is everything.
Steve, UK

You would think by now, that all the world's leading scientists would have some explanation about this 'man-made' virus which is infecting so many of us.

Jason, UK
You would think by now, that all the world's leading scientists would have some explanation about this 'man-made' virus which is infecting so many of us. The powers that be in this world are also to blame. Their lack of encouragement to push awareness and research into Aids is disgraceful and sends a sour message to everyone that there are more important things to them, than life.
Jason, UK

Oh yes, blame the West. We went to Africa, gave them the virus, and then made them have vigorous, unprotected sex with as many partners as possible. Give us a break! The only cure for AIDS is early sex education, which is a national, not international, responsibility. And while all this attention (and money) is devoted to AIDS, many other, treatable diseases are either under-funded or ignored.
Edward, UK

Sounds like social Darwinism to me.
Philip Grebner, USA

There's no doubt that AIDS is a terrible disease, but I do think that this disease is a punishment/natural cure for the immorality of most men today. Although millions have died I believe that some good will come out of AIDS. People, who would normally lead a promiscuous lifestyle are now forced to reconsider. Maybe AIDS will deter people from experimenting with homosexual relationships?
Dr. S, UK

Maybe I have got the wrong end of the stick, but I believe there are a number of religions that do not endorse contraception. Why on earth this should be the case, I cannot comprehend. Clearly death via aids is far less humane than killing the unborn foetus. Surely the way forward is to flood the country with condoms and educate people this way. Whilst this will obviously minimise the spread of Aids/HIV more effectively, other tangible benefits can also be experienced, for example, reducing the population, thus helping to minimise starvation. Leaders, both religious and political must start thinking more rationally.
Gareth, UK

Here in France an epidemic of immense size was predicted when AIDS first appeared. The reason this has not happened is because people are properly educated about prevention. The same must now be done in Africa, no mater what the religious objections.
Alain Darrat, France

It is surely a credit to sexual education in this country that I have never known anyone diagnosed with AIDS. That same high quality of education must now be transferred to Africa if a tragedy is to be adverted.
Terry Odger, UK

Two of my friends have died of AIDS because of the primitive views of the Roman Catholic Church towards contraception. That same church holds great power in many parts of Africa. No wonder so many people there have it.
Juliano Apsay, Italy

AIDS is difficult to catch. Very difficult if you are careful. But to be careful you need education, and that is what is lacking in places like Africa. The UN must act at once to see that that education is given before whole populations are blighted.
Peter Ennis, UK

The people of Africa cannot hope to prevent the tragic increase in AIDS until religious groups, whether traditional or introduced in the last 100 years, stop preaching and allow education about this disease and the prevention of it.
Alain Resol, Channel Islands

I have lost three friends through AIDS in the last ten years. They were not in high-risk groups but caught it because the religious community in this country would not allow enough prevention and education in the early days. I fear we are seeing the same problem now in Africa.
Paolo Ubicair, Brazil

Unfortunately AIDS will only get worse in those countries where religious or moral issues prevent its control through education or prevention.
Tito Estes, Italy

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23 Nov 99 | Health
HIV hits 50 million
23 Nov 99 | Health
Thousands unaware they have HIV
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