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DEVELOPMENT REPORT – October 7, 2002: AIDS Increasing in Five Countries - 2002-10-05

This is the VOA Special English DEVELOPMENT REPORT.

A new American report warns that rates of infection from the AIDS virus will rise sharply by the year two-thousand-ten. The National Intelligence Council prepared the report for the United States Central Intelligence Agency. It says the increase will result mainly from the spread of AIDS in five countries. They are China, India, Ethiopia, Nigeria and Russia.

The report estimates that the number of people infected in those countries could increase to between fifty-million and seventy-five-million. That is three times the number currently estimated. It also is far more than the number of AIDS cases expected in central and southern Africa. That number is expected to increase to as many as thirty-five-million people.

China, India, Ethiopia, Nigeria and Russia have more than forty percent of the world’s population. Officials warn that the increase of AIDS could harm the economic, social, political and military systems in these countries.

The report estimates that India might have as many as twenty-five-million AIDS victims by two-thousand-ten. That is the highest estimate of any country.

The report says the AIDS virus is spreading at different rates in the five countries. It says that risky sexual activity is increasing infection rates in all five. The problem is reported to be most severe in Nigeria and Ethiopia.

For example, the report notes that in Nigeria the virus has spread from high-risk groups to the general population. Nigeria’s government has attempted to increase public understanding of the virus that causes AIDS. The report warns that the disease could affect one-fourth of all adults in the country within eight years.

In Ethiopia, the release of soldiers from the armed forces has greatly influenced the spread of the disease. The report says many Ethiopian soldiers and sex workers became infected during the civil war in the nineteen-eighties. It says Ethiopia and Nigeria have few public health services to fight the disease.

The report says that the main cause of rising AIDS infections in Russia is illegal drug use. It says the release of large numbers of infected prisoners and rising numbers of sex workers are helping the disease to spread. In China, one reason the disease is increasing is because of unsafe methods in the collection and sale of blood.

This VOA Special English DEVELOPMENT REPORT was written by George Grow.