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AIDS ‘is a weapon of mass destruction’

Published on 29/11/2005

29 November 2005

BRUSSELS — The launch of a new HIV awareness campaign saw a 200sq m banner unveiled at Antwerp Central Station on Tuesday with the message that ‘AIDS is a weapon of mass destruction. Use a condom’.

The banner was placed at the station by sexual health organisation Sensoa and Designers against Aids to bring greater focus to World AIDS Day on Thursday.

“Some 20 years after the outbreak of AIDS, not only is the illness undefeated, but also the stigma that sticks to people with HIV and AIDS. Solidarity and the fight against that stigma are central on World AIDS Day,” Sensoa said.

Studies carried out by Sensoa indicate the number of people being diagnosed with HIV worldwide fell by 5 percent last year compared with 2003.

It is the first time the number has fallen in six years, newspaper ‘Het Gazet van Antwerpen’ reported.

However, Sensoa still reacted with caution, pointing out that the figures were not the number of new infections, but only the number of diagnosed HIV patients in a given period.

It also said it could take several years after a person is infected before they start showing signs of HIV — the virus that causes AIDS.

The number of new diagnoses is also higher than the number recorded in the ‘peak years’ of 1992 and 2000.

Sensoa said the number of Belgians being diagnosed with HIV has been relatively stable since 1987 and that the nation remains one of the least affected countries in Europe.

Gay men remain the most at threat from AIDS, due to primarily to a decline in safe sex.

Immigrants from African nations south of the Sahara are the most at threat among the foreign community in Belgium.

[Copyright Expatica News 2005]

Subject: Belgian news