Africa Notes: AIDS Revisited - March 1993
March 1, 1993
The durability of the Soviet Union is only one of the prevailing assumptions of the 1980s that have not stood the test of time. Two hypotheses about AIDS refuted by current worldwide case reports were the categorizations of the disease as "an African plague" or alternatively (in the words of columnist James J. Kilpatrick, June 1988) "overwhelmingly ... a disease that afflicts two classes-drug addicts and homosexual men. . . . a tiny fraction of the population whose willful behavior results in the infection." It is now clear that the epidemic has not yet peaked anywhere and that no nation on any continent is likely to be AIDS-free by the end of the century. Projections that Asia could overtake Africa and account for 42 percent of the world's HIV infections by the year 2000 as compared to 31 percent for sub-Saharan Africa, combined with the increasing AIDS caseloads in Latin America and the countries of the former USSR (many of whose health care systems are in a state of collapse), underscore the necessity of dealing with the pandemic as a global phenomenon.