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GLOBAL AIDSNEWS. 1995; (3-4):8-9.The World Health Organization's Global Programme on AIDS (GPA)has organized HIV/AIDS surveillance systems worldwide and has analyzed and interpreted global trends of the pandemic. With 4.5 million cases of AIDS estimated by the middle of 1995 and a further 14-15 million adults believed to be infected with HIV, the epidemic continues to evolve. Not only is it spreading geographically into western and southern Africa, India, and other Asian countries, the number of women infected has risen to narrow the gap between the sexes. This increase in AIDS among women has led to a tandem increase in the number of mother-to-child transmissions of HIV. In some populations, however, prevalence appears to be stabilizing (among pregnant women in southern Zaire, in parts of Uganda, among military recruits in Thailand, in Australia, in northern Europe, in the US, and in Canada). This stabilization is partly due to prevention efforts. Proper surveillance is necessary to shed light on such hopeful signs and to discern their cause. Thus, the GPA will shortly publish country-specific estimates of HIV prevalence to insure that adequate prevention and care programs are instituted and to act as a monitoring tool. The GPA's prototype HIV incidence model can aid understanding of underlying trends when it is linked with surveillance data. Such a model can also allow measurements of the potential impact of vaccines when administered according to various vaccination strategies.
ETHIOPIAN MIDWIVES MAGAZINE. 1995; (10):13.The Global Program on Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS), known as GPA, has established a new organization composed of several UN agencies (i.e., WHO, UNICEF, UNDP, UNESCO, UNDFP, and the World Bank). GPA estimates for human immunodeficiency infection (HIV) indicate an increase of 3 million over the last year. Over half of the new infections occurred in women. The sharpest rise has been in the number of AIDS cases; during the last 6 months, the estimated cumulative number has risen from 1 million to 4 million globally. Since the beginning of the pandemic, over 16 million men, women, and children have become infected with HIV. One in every 15 people infected is a child. Almost one-fourth of the total, about 4 million, have developed AIDS. The GPA Management Committee Meeting (GMC) in May released the following information: 1) every day 5000 more people are infected with HIV; 2) sub-Saharan Africa remains the most heavily affected with two-thirds of the total infections; 3) the epidemic is spreading most rapidly in India, Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia; 4) there has been an increase, from 30,000 to 250,000, in the number of AIDS cases in the past year in south and southeast Asia; and 5) prevalence rates as high as 25% among military recruits, and 8% among pregnant women, are being reported in parts of northern Thailand. Once the epidemics in African countries have matured, over two-thirds of the new infections occur in persons under 24 years of age; almost half of the new adult cases are women. Unless action is taken at least 30-40 million people will be infected by the end of the decade.
WORLD HEALTH. 1995 Jan-Feb; 48(1):10-1.The World Health Organization has established a network of more than 60 national virology laboratories to perform the surveillance necessary to insure the eradication of poliovirus. These laboratories work with epidemiologists to determine the cause of cases of acute flaccid paralysis. Their work is supported by 15 regional reference laboratories and 5 specialized global laboratories. As the number of polio-free countries increases, researchers at the US Centers for Disease Control are engaging in "molecular epidemiology" to determine if the indigenous strains of wild polio have really disappeared. These studies examine the mutations which occur at a rate of approximately 2% of a selected portion of the genome each year to determine the relationship between viruses of the same type. Differences of more than 10% indicate different families of viruses. Analysis of many strains has allowed the mapping of the "homelands," or geographical areas, of various genotypes. Such molecular epidemiology will allow coordinated eradication activities to be directed at eliminating genotypes from homelands which extend beyond national borders. Until global eradication is achieved, all countries remain at risk.