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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
An animal rights group known as the Nonhuman Rights Project filed lawsuits in three New York courts this week in an...
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
Thousands of scientists in the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) are about to lose their jobs as a result of the...
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
Snake venoms are remarkably complex mixtures that can stun or kill prey within minutes. But more and more researchers...
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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South Africa's AIDS Drug Policy Draws Criticism
30 November 1998 6:00 pm
PARIS--Controversy has erupted over the South African government's decision to withhold the antiviral drug AZT from pregnant women infected with HIV--despite the compound's demonstrated effectiveness at preventing transmission of the virus to offspring.
AIDS officials, physicians, and activists say they are perplexed by the decision, in which the South African government last month said it would not provide AZT to pregnant women in any publicly funded health program. "We consider the price of the drug unaffordable," says Ian Roberts, special advisor to South African health minister Nkosazana Zuma. But Peter Piot, UNAIDS's executive director, argues that South Africa "clearly [hasn't] done enough" to stem the alarming mother-to-child infection rate: In some regions, more than a fifth of pregnant women are HIV-positive, and one Soweto-based hospital delivered nearly 1000 HIV-infected infants this year. Overall, nearly 15% of South African adults harbor HIV, says Bernhard Schwartländer, UNAIDS's senior epidemiologist.
While Africa is currently bearing the brunt of the epidemic, the latest figures released by the United Nations last week reveal disturbing trends elsewhere. In India, sampling in rural areas has uncovered adult HIV infection prevalences reaching 2%. Even in Western Europe and North America, where AIDS deaths are down thanks to antiviral therapies, the proportion of the population infected with HIV continues to rise; epidemiologists logged 74,000 new infections on the two continents during 1998. Some 5.8 million people worldwide were newly infected with HIV in 1998, bringing the total number of HIV-infected people to 33.4 million.