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World AIDS Conference Discusses Gender and Developing Countries

Researchers at the 12th Annual World AIDS Conference in Geneva reported their latest findings on the detection and treatment of the HIV virus.

Dr. Homa Yoon Farzadegan reported that HIV+ women might need AIDS therapies much sooner than HIV+ men. Traditionally, gay men were the subjects of disease progression experiments, but new research has shown that women may need half the viral load of men in order to progress to full-blown AIDS.

Other researchers reported their discoveries concerning a new strain of the virus that has been resistant to multiple drug therapies. Dr. Frederick Hecht of San Francisco General Hospital said that doctors “still don’t know how frequently resistant strains are transmitted.” An article to be published in the New England Journal of Medicine later this month states that the new strain could impose “an important emerging clinical and public health problem.”

Reports were also given on HIV infection rates in Third World countries. In developing countries, people do not have access to the medications that infected Americans and Europeans use to prolong and enjoy their lives. The life expectancy rate in Botswana is likely to drop to 40 years old and in southern Africa one adult in four is HIV+. The reason for this is monetary: Kenya, for example, can only afford $10 per person on health care per year, about 6 hours worth of the protease inhibitor that could allow them to survive if taken for a lifetime.

Sources:

Reuters - July 1, 1998 and Nando - July 2, 1998

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