Aids: Taking Stock Of The Devastation

A July conference focuses on the horrifying numbers

"There are pestilences and there are victims, and it's up to us, so far as possible, not to join forces with the pestilences," wrote Albert Camus in his 1947 novel The Plague, about a fictional epidemic in a coastal North African town called Oran. On July 9, thousands of diplomats, scientists, activists, and reporters convene in Durban, South Africa, to join forces for the victims of an all-too-real epidemic at the XIII International AIDS Conference. For the first time ever, this high-profile conference is being held on the continent where the AIDS epidemic originated, and where it continues to take its worst toll. According to the U.N., roughly 8% of the adults in sub-Saharan Africa, or 23.4 million people, are infected with the human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV, that causes AIDS.

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