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Report pushes Peace Corps-like program to fight AIDS

Report pushes Peace Corps-like program to fight AIDS

A prestigious health advisory panel called Wednesday for a large-scale effort, akin to the Peace Corps, to battle AIDS worldwide. The Institute of Medicine issued a new report urging international aid organizations and governments to take prompt action to help developing nations deal with the epidemic of AIDS and HIV, the virus that causes it. The report from the IOM, an arm of the National Academy of Sciences, comes just a day after the United Nations reported that the world is losing the race against the AIDS virus. HIV infected a record 5 million people last year, and AIDS killed an unprecedented 3 million, having now pushed deep into Eastern Europe and Asia, the United Nations said. Worldwide infections were estimated at about 38 million people. Nine out of 10 people who urgently need treatment are not getting it, and prevention is only reaching one in five at risk, the U.N. said. The IOM report said that with cuts in the price of anti-HIV drugs and promises of billions of dollars in donations, the greatest obstacle now facing these large-scale initiatives is a shortage of qualified health care workers in the poor countries where the epidemic is at its worst. To overcome this the IOM called for a Peace Corps-like "HIV/AIDS Corps" of technical specialists. Treating HIV infection and AIDS requires a complicated and long-term effort, the IOM pointed out. (Reuters)

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