This is the VOA Special English Health
The sixteenth International AIDS Conference ended Friday in
All week there was discussion of the need to do more to prevent H.I.V., the
virus that causes AIDS. Speakers called for educating and empowering women to
give them more control over their bodies.
The delegates also discussed research on male circumcision as a possible way
to reduce the spread of H.I.V. Early studies have suggested that the removal of
the foreskin from the penis may reduce the risk of infection. But AIDS experts
say they are waiting for results from additional studies to confirm these
Delegates also heard calls to speed up the development of microbicide gels to
help protect women against H.I.V. during sex. Scientists say an effective
microbicide appears to be five to seven years away. But even a partially
effective product could cut the number of new infections.
Research also continues on a vaccine to protect against the virus.
On another issue, critics of South African Health Minister Manto
Tshabalala-Msimang called for her to resign. They say she continues to support
traditional treatments like beetroot, garlic and lemon over antiretroviral drugs. These drugs are
designed to suppress the growth of H.I.V.
The government of President Thabo Mbeki started to supply antiretroviral
drugs a few years ago. But critics say only a small percentage of those in need
receive them. AIDS has claimed more than two million lives in South Africa.
Stephen Lewis, the outgoing United Nations special representative for AIDS in
Africa, spoke at the close of the conference. Mr. Lewis called South Africa's
actions "wrong, immoral and indefensible." South African health officials
rejected his statements.
The World Health Organization want everyone who needs antiretroviral drugs to
receive them by 2010. But its acting chief, Anders Nordstrom, said countries hit
hardest by AIDS face a growing shortage of health care workers. The health
agency estimates that more than four million health workers are needed to help
the world deal with AIDS.
This issue will likely be discussed in detail at the next International AIDS
Conference in two thousand eight in Mexico City.
Scientists identified the first cases of AIDS twenty-five years ago.
And that's the VOA Special English Health Report, written by Jill Moss.
I'm Doug Johnson.
antiretroviral drug : 抗逆转录病毒药物