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Poverty not HIV in UN forefront due to winning battle against AIDS

A graveyard in South Africa, where 250,000 last year died of AIDS.
A graveyard in South Africa, where 250,000 last year died of AIDS.
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The United Nations General Assembly is making its number one goal poverty and world hunger and has dropped the fight against world wide HIV/AIDS to number six on its list. The reasons are many but the key for dropping HIV so far down the list, even below education, is there has been progress in the fight against the deadly killer of all populations.

"We've seen a drop in the number of cases world wide so progress is being made in the fight against AIDS but the poverty situation has just gone so crazy world wide the UN has made it the major focus," CBS Foreign Affairs Analyst and Resident UN Correspondent, Dr. Pamela Falk told "Hunger has grown to epidemic proportions around the world and we see it from Pakistan where the floods have destroyed villages and crops and of course in Africa as well."

Falk’s comments are reflected in the United Nations own statistics showing a 17 percent decrease in the number of HIV cases around the world since 2001. Another six million lives were saved in the fight against TB and Malaria. Much of this has been done through securing funding from private groups and not just participating countries. At one time it was felt AIDS would wipe out a huge part of the earth's population since there was no cure and very little treatment. Now with advances such as AZT and with understanding how HIV is transmitted as well as the increased use of condoms and other preventative measures, the epidemic has softened.

"So there is a bit of a silver lining so to speak," added Dr. Falk.

The fight against HIV is not over, not by a long shot. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon said an estimated $28 billion to $50 billion will be needed annually between 2011 and 2015 to achieve universal access to treatment for HIV/AIDS. France's Foreign Minister, Bernard Kouchner added that donated public money won't be enough to meet the UN's goals in all areas.

"This is not about replacing public funding, that's the message that the world must get through," he told reporters. "It's not a technical problem, it's a political problem. We need to have strong political will."

Poverty and hunger are the keys. Even the United States has fallen into the poverty trap.

"The U-S reported recently more people living below the poverty level than ever before," added Dr. Falk. "I mean there is a major difference between Americans living in poverty making thousands of dollars per year and the poor people of other nations who perhaps make $1.25 per day but it just goes to show poverty is a world wide issue."

The figures show poverty strikes at all levels no matter where you live. The UN estimates about one billion people earn $1.25 per day. With the rising cost of food and energy, and a shortage of food world wide, the UN has its hands full in trying to keep the battle going. Dirty water and sanitation are major killers although most people don't think about those things on a daily basis. They are the up to the minute reality in much of Africa and Asia.

Here too though progress is being made and most of it is due to the urbanization of much of India and China, where most of the world’s people live. People in both countries, mainly due to increased jobs in technology as urban populations are moving away from rural areas and into cities where life is somewhat better or at least improved.

Call centers for major company’s spirit jobs away from the US where they would not be filled on what Indians and Filipino's are paid to do the same job. Money is leaving the United States and helping to make life better for Indians, Chinese and even Latin Americans. Increased urban populations lead to more pollution but this isn't as high on the UN wish list as poverty and hunger. Of course India also has one of the higher rates of AIDS in the world as well.

The United Nations is calling for $26 billion to $42 billion annually targeting the health of women and children. Ban wants funds to reduce the number of women dying during pregnancy and childbirth by 75-percent, cutting the number of children who die before their 5th birthday by two-thirds, and promoting equality for women.


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