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African Conference to Combat AIDS

The 14th International Conference on HIV/AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Infections in Africa (ICASA) aimed at combating the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Africa has been opened by the Continent’s scientists in Nigeria on 4 December 2005.// The focus of the conference is on more effective implementation of the projects and better utilization of funds. During the year 2005 alone over 3 million Africans have been infected by the disease, which is representative 64% of the infections across the world during the year, according to sources from UNAIDS.

The sub-Saharan Africa which is home to 10% of the population of the world accounts for 60% of the HIV patients in the world. The conference also seeks to focus on the accountability part of the funds that are received to combat AIDS. Most of the healthcare systems in Africa are in a poor shape, and the Continent receives billions of dollars by way of aid from foreign donors towards education campaigns and life-prolonging drugs.

The Continent is facing an unprecedented AIDS crisis as 50% of the new infections are accounted by the younger generation. African countries like Uganda, Kenya and Zimbabwe have recorded declining figures where new infections are concerned.

AIDS also affects children as many of them are left orphans by the disease, which is taking a heavy toll of the productive population. Nigeria alone has 1.8 million children who have lost one or both parents due to AIDS. The mother to child transmission of the virus also affects children, and 50% of such children do not even live until their second birthday.

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