This December 1, spare a thought for the estimated 33.2 million people around the world living with HIV/AIDS (95 per cent of them in the developing world). This year alone, some 2.5 million people will become newly infected with HIV (including countless children). The World AIDS Campaign's slogan in marking World AIDS Day is "Stop AIDS: Keep the Promise". Leadership is the theme for this year as a special plea towards governments and non-governmental organizations to provide the leadership needed to overcome ingrained resistance to strategies that have proven effective in preventing the spread of AIDS including condom distribution and providing retroviral drugs to prevent the transfer of HIV from mothers to their unborn children.
Despite numerous promises from industrialized nations to provide low-cost generic medications to combat AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, they have routinely failed to deliver. Sadly, it does not appear to be a political priority as new causes crowd out old ones. In the meantime, people are dying and the resources in many Third World countries are strained to the breaking point trying to deal the patients and their families (this includes an estimated 14 million AIDS orphans). This problem isn't going away.