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Mobilizing grassroots movements along with condoms & drugs show signs of slowing HIV/AIDS
World Bank
June 14, 2007

A new World Bank report on HIV/AIDS launched today in the Rwandan capital, Kigali, says the mobilization of empowered 'grassroots' communities, along with delivering condoms and life-saving treatments, are beginning to slow the pace of the continent's epidemic, which last year killed more than 2 million African adults and children, and left another 24.7 million Africans struggling to live with its deadly effects.

According to the new report—The Africa Multi-Country AIDS Program 2000-2006: Results of the World Bank's Response to a Development Crisis—ultimate success in defeating HIV/AIDS will depend on marshalling effective prevention, care, and treatment, measures to boost 'social immune systems' in African countries—changing their beliefs, perceptions, and social and individual behaviors around the disease so that eventually they can reverse the advance of HIV and stop the damage done by AIDS.

The report says these changes are taking place as the epidemic shows signs of slowing in Uganda, Kenya, and Zimbabwe, and in urban Ethiopia, Rwanda, Burundi, Malawi, and Zambia. But Southern Africa remains the epicenter of the continent's epidemic with unprecedented infection rates. In one recent household survey, a staggering 70 percent of women, aged 30-34, and men, aged 40-44, in Botswana's second largest city, Francistown, have HIV. In Eastern Africa, countries are facing a mixed epidemic pattern with significant numbers of new infections originating in the commercial sex trade, and in the general population.

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