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Warning sign: The news on AIDS isn't all good

JOHANNESBURG — Health agencies are warning of an 'alarming' increase in AIDS-related deaths among adolescents, a new front line in the fight against a global epidemic that has waned in recent years. Among youth aged 10 to 19, deaths linked to AIDS increased by 50 percent between 2005 and 2012, compared with a 30 percent decline seen in the general population.

The disabled often are denied information about sex and HIV

Commentary: They are denied education because it is assumed, incorrectly, that they are asexual.
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A nurse takes a blood sample on March 8, 2011 in a mobile clinic set up to test students for HIV at Madwaleni high school near Mtubatuba in Kwazulu Natal, South Africa. (Stephane de Sakutin /AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK — “People look at disabled people and think they don’t have sex. We have sex. And we can be infected with HIV.” John Meletse is a deaf, gay, and HIV-positive South African. When he went to get tested for HIV in 2001, the clinic staff couldn’t communicate in sign language. The doctor took his blood, showed him a piece of paper that read, “YOU ARE HIV POSITIVE,” and then asked him to leave. He was shocked by this news, and struggled to understand what this meant for his life and how to cope. Meletse’s case is not unique. Over a billion people — 15 percent of the world’s population — live with a disability. These numbers should confer power and authority in decision making about all aspects of their lives, including to HIV and AIDS. Yet people with disabilities have been largely ignored in the global response to HIV.

In Africa, lots of good news in the fight against AIDS

NAIROBI, Kenya — George W. Bush was loved in Africa, not least thanks to his $15 billion initiative to provide millions of AIDS sufferers with life-saving antiretroviral drugs, and his efforts to prevent millions more from being infected. The program was called the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS relief, or PEPFAR, and the results have been impressive.
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