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DISTRESSING NEWS FROM THE UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY MEETING

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zephyr:
Hi Folks...

Spent some time reviewing my email alerts from a variety of sources last night, til early morning. Thought I'd share rather distressing news about the 'declaration' coming out of the UN General Assembly Meet held in New York last week.

The U.S. recently acknowledged that more money is needed (to combat AIDS), but did not commit to raising the needed funds. An estimated $23 billion is needed per annum by 2010 in order to fund AIDS treatment, care, prevention, and health infrastructure.

"The O.I.C. (Organization of the Islamic Conference), which represents Muslim countries, vehemently opposes references (in the declaration) to homosexuals, prostitutes, and drug addicts. THE U.S. IS SUPPORTING O.I.C." (email from ICW)

"At this stage of the pandemic, we expected government committment to close the global funding gap, instead they have tried to let themselves off the hook." (Kieran Daly, International Council of AIDS Service Organizations)

"To stem the spread of HIV, we need to be realistic, we will not succeed by putting our heads in the sand and pretending that these people do not exist or do not need help." (UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, Reuters Alert Net, 5/31)

"This pandemic has spread further, faster and with more catastrophic long-term affects than any other disease." (UNAIDS Executive Director, Peter Piot, quote from AP/Sioux City Journal, 5/31)

"60 MILLION TOTAL INFECTIONS GLOBALLY, 20 MILLION DEAD" (New York Times, 6/1)

"ADOLESCENT GIRLS MAY BECOME EXTINCT IN SOME COUNTRIES" (Peter Piot, UNAIDS Executive Director)

One email exclaimed shock at the 'Alarming feminization of the pandemic'.

Thought you would all like to know.

Zephyr

Jeffreyj:
Zeph,
Thanks for that update. It stresses to me that we can't depend on the government to do the right thing. While I was reading your post my blood pressure, I think, went up! So thanks for taking your valuble time in keeping us informed. We need to know about the bad news as well as the good. It makes me want to do more. So much needs to be done in all areas of this epidemic. When will those in power wake up? We spend billions in Iraq while HIV/AIDS raveshes our own society. I know we have come a long way but your post just points out there is so much more we need and we must do.
So thanks Zeph. Thanks for caring. You are just giving me the inspiration to do more and more. I am ready for the challange. I feel it is only a win-win thing for me. I hope we all reach out in any small way that we can in our daily routines. Every little bit does help. It all adds up at the end of the day. So thanks again Zeph for the knowledge. Knowledge is power baby! You are truly an inspiration to me! Thankyou thankyou thankyou. Jeff

Ann:
Here's an article from today's Guardian about Kofi Annan's closing speach:


--- Quote ---Telling it like it is

Leader
Monday June 5, 2006
The Guardian


Kofi Annan was right to sound a warning note when the United Nations conference on Aids ended on Friday without properly tackling one of the core issues in the global struggle against this terrible epidemic: simply telling it like it is. The UN secretary general upbraided those countries which refused to sign up to a declaration acknowledging that gay men, prostitutes and drug users who inject are at risk and need special protection. They were lumped together as "vulnerable groups". Since education about prevention - condom use and clean needles - lies at the heart of any Aids strategy, the refusal of conservatives, in Africa, the Muslim world and elsewhere, to acknowledge reality is plain foolish. Preaching sexual abstinence and fidelity, as many Americans do, is no substitute.

Nelson Mandela was praised for his courage last year for speaking publicly about the death of his son from the disease. But by then South Africa's HIV/Aids rate was already among the highest in the world and millions were aware of or affected by the epidemic. Taboos can kill, whether they are cultural, religious or social. And the right words matter, because they can help harness energy and marshal resources.
The bare statistics today, 25 years since Aids was first identified as a mysterious virus affecting gay men in California, need no embellishment. No fewer than 25 million have already died. Infection rates are slowing, according to UN figures, though 38.6 million people are now living with HIV worldwide. In 2005 approximately 4.1 million people became infected with the virus, while about 2.8 million died of Aids-related illnesses. Every day 8,500 people die and 13,500 become infected. Women continue to be increasingly vulnerable to the disease, with 17 million infected. Of those, over three-quarters live in sub-Saharan Africa, where most of those infected are also married. India has overtaken South Africa as the country with the largest number of people with HIV/Aids - estimated at 5.7 million. Infection rates are also rising in eastern Europe and central Asia.

Attitudes are slow to shift, partly because the reality of HIV/Aids is still hard to grasp. Some call it a "long wave" phenomenon, a "slowly unfolding nightmare" akin to global warming, whose impact, often geographically distant, unfolds over many decades and has implications that go beyond any single country. Africa's aid crisis, fuelled by declining adult life expectancy, increasing numbers of orphans and poor socialisation, could help tip some weak states into disorder and compete failure.

Last week's UN general assembly meeting was a follow-up to a 2001 session which set priorities for tackling the crisis. No vaccine is yet available, and antiretroviral drug treatment, while getting cheaper, is still only available to under half of those infected, posing a challenge that is simultaneously urgent and long-term - "running a marathon at the pace of a sprint" in the wise words of Peter Piot, head of the UNAids programme. UNAids says $20-23bn will be needed by 2010, but the New York meeting only "recognised" that fact, while failing to set hard targets for funding, treatment, care or prevention in countries where poverty, misery and hunger make all these tasks doubly hard.

Still, raising the cash may be the easy bit. As Friday's UN declaration put it, prevention strategies have to "take account of local circumstances, ethics and cultural values". That includes a US requirement for a "loyalty oath" from Aids grantees opposing prostitution - making it effectively impossible to educate sex workers on HIV transmission. Aids has been compared to the Black Death that devastated Europe in the 14th century. The world has woken up to the fact that this modern scourge has already lasted much longer. But it badly needs to stay on the case. With some projections suggesting 150 million could be infected by the time the virus is half a century old, Mr Annan was correct in saying that "silence is deadly".
--- End quote ---

http://www.guardian.co.uk/aids/story/0,,1790529,00.html

If you go to the website, check out the comment by "rogerhicks", who reckons that HIV/AIDS is "Nature's way of reestablishing equilibrium and sustainability in the face of one particular species (our own) getting out of hand."  ::) ??? :-[  >:(

Ann



zephyr:
Fantastic, Ann!

I truly appreciate that you posted this for us today...I hadn't time to read the papers, or my e-alerts! I am going to print this out, and hand it over to the journalist arriving to my house tomorrow, as a way of indicating to her the importance of the General conference that happened last week.

You also helped to 'fill' my blanks (above), which in my compressed time-frame yesterday, seemed a little empty (after I posted.)

As far as Roger Hicks goes, he can continue to be an "Aspiring Ape" all he wants, he is a far cry from 'enlightened', and has far to go.

Thanks, honey,

Zeph

Eldon:
Zephie,

We are needed to help close the gap that exists today as a reality. You see where the fundraising is important and the funding?

Eldon

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