Why this issue for the second ADF?
This year’s ADF theme on "AIDS: the Greatest Leadership Challenge" is unique because it offers an opportunity to conduct critical appraisal of current strategies and approaches and to discuss how to secure the commitment of African leaders to take action now to implement prevention and care programmes.
The HIV/AIDS epidemic is taking a devastating toll in terms of human suffering; it is jeopardizing economic growth, development prospects and political stability, especially in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Given the degree to which HIV/AIDS is undermining progress in development, it is no longer merely a health problem, but poses a major development crisis on the continent. While SSA accounts for only one-tenth of the global population, it bears the brunt of the disease, with more than 80% of AIDS-related deaths worldwide.
Source: UNAIDS, 1999
Current statistics indicate that two decades since the epidemic surfaced, sufficient actions have not been taken to mitigate the spread of the disease. The result is millions of new infections and unnecessary suffering and death. In 1999 alone, it was estimated that out of the 5.6 million newly infected adults and children, 3.8 million were found to be in SSA.
Estimated number of adults and children newly infected with HIV during 1999
Source: AIDS epidemic update: December 1999 (UNAIDS)