Could concentrated HIV epidemics make AIDS unbeatable?

By Kate Kelland, Health and Science Correspondent LONDON (Reuters) – HIV epidemics are becoming more concentrated in marginalized groups such as sex workers, drug users and gay men, and could defy global attempts to combat AIDS without a change in attitudes, according to a U.N. special envoy. Michel Sidibe, formerly head of UNAIDS and now tackling HIV and AIDS in Eastern Europe, says he would like to be able to celebrate without reservation vast global progress made in the past decade, but stubborn infection rates and alarming growth of outbreaks in hard-to-reach populations make that difficult. The risk, he says, is that as the world turns the tide of the generalized global AIDS epidemic, the virus will return to being a disease that plagues only certain groups, and the political will to overcome it there may fade. “If we do not address the roots of the problem, if we do not address stigma, discrimination and inappropriate legislation, if we don’t look at these people from a public health perspective, rather than from a delinquent, criminal perspective as we do now, then the trend will only go on,” Sidibe said in an interview.
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