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Student Editorials

The long war

BMJ 2006; 333 doi: (Published 01 December 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;333:0612445
  1. Manuela Moraru, final year medical student1,
  2. Anna Barford, research associate2,
  3. Danny Dorling, professor of human geography1
  1. 1University of Seville
  2. 2Department of Geography, University of Sheffield

Manuela Moraru and colleagues review the complex challenges presented by HIV/AIDS

Can you think of a cause that in some countries has led to the death of almost an entire generation, and the prevalence of which continues to increase? HIV/AIDS fits this description. More than 25 million people have died of AIDS since it was first diagnosed in the early 1980s. Almost three million of these deaths occurred in 2005.w1 The figure shows the worldwide distribution of people living with HIV/AIDS.


Global HIV infection in 2003. Size of territory is proportional to number of infected people aged 15-49 years. Thus the area of each place is in proportion to the number of people who are currently living with HIV. Colours show human development index, ranging from the lowest, dark red, in central Africa to the highest, violet, in Japan. Reproduced with permission from Anna Barford and Danny Dorling

Recent international agreements on the need for an integrated approach to HIV/AIDS have resulted in the allocation of large amounts of money for many organisations. For example, the Global Fund to fight AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria was established in 2002 as a partnership of governments, civil services, the private sector, and affected communities. It currently mobilises 20% of international financing to combat HIV/AIDS.13 Unfortunately only one in every six Africans in need of treatment receives it.1 The “lessons learnt so far confirm that success in the global fight against HIV/AIDS does not come without great effort.”4 So it is valuable to reflect on where …

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