The Aids epidemic in some countries is so severe that it should be classified as a disaster, the Red Cross and Red Crescent (IFRC) has warned.
The crisis fits the UN definition of a disaster as an event beyond the scope of any single society to cope with, says the IFRC.
The IFRC’s annual report on world disasters usually focuses on specific natural disasters such as earthquakes.
The report says much of the money spent on Aids is not reaching those in need.
This year, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is departing from tradition with its world disasters report, to focus on what it says is one of the most long term and complex problems facing the world: the HIV/Aids epidemic.
By any standard, the epidemic is a global disaster: 25 million deaths, 33 million people living with HIV/Aids, 7,000 new infections every day.
The IFRC finds the world’s response wanting.
There may be billions of dollars to spend on the fight against Aids, but the report warns that much of the money has not been targeted properly and is not reaching those most in need.
“When the history of HIV and Aids is written I think the people will say that we just went for the easier options,” says Dr Mukesh Kapila, the IFRC’s special representative on HIV/Aids.
General education and general awareness have been done, he says, but people at risk such as sex workers and injecting drug users are difficult for many governments to tackle.
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This article was posted: Thursday, June 26, 2008 at 4:15 pm