AIDS an Unprecedented Pandemic

Tuesday, 21 November, 2000

The President of the National Academies Forum, Professor Malcolm Gillies has reported that the growing tragedy of HIV/AIDS world-wide, particularly in Africa and the Asian-Pacific nations, is unprecedented. The pandemic may be more deadly globally than the 14th century's Black Death which killed about 25 million, or the 1918-19's influenza epidemic which killed about 20 million.

The scale of HIV/AIDS, coupled with a growing complacency, has prompted the National Academies Forum to plan the public symposium 'Every Eight Seconds: AIDS revisited' for 29-30 November at the National Library of Australia in Canberra as part of AIDS Awareness Week.

According to the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS, more than 18.8 million people have died from AIDS and more than 34.3 million people are living with it. In developed countries, many HIV-positive people can live relatively normal lives for many years through drug therapy. In developing countries, HIV infection is a death sentence.

This symposium will focus on the human dimension of living with HIV/AIDS, and the way culture and religion affects the way people perceive the disease.

For a more information, contact Sue Fraser at the Australian Academy of Science on (02) 6247 5777.

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