|My song against AIDS|
|Data briefs: Progress and disparity|
Low rates must not stall action
If the AIDS epidemic has taught the world anything, it is that any HIV-prevalence rate needs to be regarded as a clear and present danger. The list (below) highlights how prevalence percentages do not need to be high to be disastrous. In India, the rates of 0.6% among 15- to 24-year-old women and 0.4% among men of the same age translate into 570,000 women and 340,000 men infected, the second highest number of infections after South Africa. Similarly, in the Russian Federation, rates of 0.1% among women and 0.3% among men mean 14,000 women and 29,000 men carry the virus.
Not so long ago, current high-prevalence countries probably had rates comparable to these but failed to take the containment steps needed.
No priority can be greater than to stem the spread of AIDS through well-conceived and generously funded prevention and management programmes.