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Global Snapshot

Global Snapshot


Roger Perrault, the former director of the blood transfusion service of the Canadian Red Cross, has been ordered to stand trial in a scandal in which hemophiliacs in Canada were given HIV-tainted blood products in the 1980s and early 1990s. An estimated 2,000 people contracted HIV and 20,000 contracted hepatitis C from the blood products. The health ministers of Brazil and Argentina have announced a plan for the countries to jointly produce generic anti-HIV drugs. The two countries will start by sharing information and technology and by bringing experts together. President Jacques Chirac of France has written to 145 world leaders to encourage them to support his call for an international tax on all airline tickets to generate billions to fight AIDS and other serious diseases around the world. The government of Jamaica has announced that lawmakers will study whether legalizing homosexuality and prostitution would encourage people to learn about HIV prevention and seek testing and treatment for the disease. Police in Queenstown, South Africa, fired tear gas and rubber bullets in July on nearly 700 demonstrators protesting delays in rolling out a regional HIV treatment program. Ten protesters were treated for gunshot wounds, and 40 were injured. A study has shown sexual violence against women is leading to high HIV infection rates in Zimbabwe. Forty percent of women ages 25 to 29 tested between 1998 and 2000 in one rural province were found to be infected with HIV. Only 15% of their male counterparts were HIV-positive. The government of Libya urged Bulgaria in August to pay a diya--blood money--to win amnesty for six medics convicted and sentenced to death for allegedly infecting 400 Libyan children with HIV. Bulgarian officials rejected the proposal. A study by the Council on Foreign Relations says genetic 'fingerprinting' can trace virtually all HIV cases in Asia--except for an outbreak in China--to Myanmar, the world's top opium producer. The virus initially spread from the country through injection-drug users.

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