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SidAlerte. 1996 Jun-Jul;(54-55):30-1.

[The campaign against AIDS in Africa: the potential role of South Africa].

[Article in French]



The political transformation of South Africa in 1992 and its enthusiastic reception by the international community have created possibilities for a new role in the struggle against HIV and AIDS in Africa. South Africa is probably the most developed African country, with enormous potential for economic growth. The country should take the lead in coordinating cooperative African programs to study and prevent AIDS. The HIV epidemic is spreading rapidly in the country. A 1995 study in prenatal clinics showed over 12% of pregnant women to be seropositive. The epidemic has especially affected the most impoverished sectors of the population. Political instability in the country and its northern neighbors over the past 15-20 years, distrust by the non-White population of programs backed by White government officials, the large number of uneducated young people, the great cultural diversity, and the influx of refugees from the north are probably all factors in the spread of AIDS. The excellent medical facilities in South Africa, including seven well-equipped medical schools, offer a unique opportunity for study of HIV. Means should be found to promote HIV research, including collaborative projects with neighboring countries, phase 3 vaccine trials, and clinical trials of new antiretroviral and antitubercular products. Large industrial concerns and international donors should be encouraged to support research on HIV control in South Africa and elsewhere on the continent, emphasizing studies of potential benefit to Africa. Support for HIV research in Africa might contribute to retaining medical school graduates in the country who currently seek research opportunities abroad. A medical scholarship program and the South African AIDS control program should be extended to other African countries.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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