-- AIDS IN AFRICA --
Then and Now, The Early Years - A Personal Survey
On November 23 1986, The Sunday Express in London gave us the following
piece of information: -
faces devastation from AIDS
DEADLY disease AIDS is now so out of control in black Africa that whole
nations of people are doomed, leaving vast areas of now-populated land
devoid of a single person within the next 10 years. This nightmare of
entire African populations disappearing has emerged after latest scientific
estimates put the number of AIDS carriers at a staggering 5,000,000".
Medical Correspondent of The Guardian newspaper in London, Andrew Veitch,
on the day the British House of Commons first debated AIDS (November 21
1986) began his article on page 21 on "How to avoid catching AIDS",
worst possibility is a holocaust: a third of the British population
dead by the turn of the century. America and western Europe in a state
of political and economic collapse, Africa left to the lions. The doomsday
merchants do have a case: an estimated 10 million in the United States
and probably 6 per cent of the entire population of Africa. The number
of the full-blown disease is doubling every 10 months in Britain. The
statistics roll on."
to myself: "This is a new epidemic, I must find out what is happening
on my continent". If the British undergraduate and postgraduate medical
upbringing which I had had the privilege of receiving, did not equip me
to discern what was happening, then nothing else would. My training did
not let me down. I used what is called clinical epidemiology to acquire
a bird's eye view of the problem. I had no money, so I did write to the
WHO Global AIDS Office for funds. I was not rewarded with a reply. I approached
African businessmen to sponsor me. Promises galore, but nothing came.
So I went to National Westminster Bank in South Kensington, London SW7,
to borrow money. The Bank Manager was puzzled at my request, but he lent
me the money all the same. My wife was speechless, but she let me go.
Medical Press was very kind to me after my tour. They published most of
the articles I sent to them. I reproduce details here for anyone researching
the history of AIDS in Africa, wishing to build on work done at the grass
roots, and keen to detect why and how AIDS, in a mere 10 years has gone
in some African countries from Grade I (not much of a problem) to Grade
IV (a very great problem). Grade V of my own classification, as indicated
in some of my articles mentioned below, would represent "a catastrophe",
with the streets of villages and towns strewn with AIDS corpses.
I trust that African Businessmen and women will rise to the occasion,
and sponsor some young people to go round African countries determining,
for instance, whether sex alone was responsible for some populations moving
ominously through the grades towards Grade V. The References mentioned
below are as listed in my CV. Those articles not easily accessible in
libraries would, hopefully, be reproduced in full.
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