By Advocate.com Editors
Originally published on Advocate.com March 18 2003 12:00 AM ET
A Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS and World Health Organization task force on Friday reaffirmed that sex, not unsafe medical practices, is the primary mode of HIV transmissions in Africa, contradicting a recent study that suggested that contaminated needles and blood transfusions were linked with most of the continent's HIV/AIDS cases. The statement addresses claims made in three papers published in the March issue of the International Journal of STD and AIDS, which said that despite the consensus among AIDS organizations that heterosexual contact has accounted for 90% of HIV cases in Africa, only one third of the total cases have been transmitted in this manner. The UNAIDS/WHO expert group said that while unsafe medical practices do pose a transmission risk in Africa and throughout the world, the vast majority of HIV infections in developing nations are caused by unprotected sex. The group also said claims that most HIV infections are caused by contaminated needles and blood supplies are not supported by the majority of data collected in developing nations.