South Africa is already home to more HIV-positive people than any other country, 5.7 million at last count. But there’s more to come: A new report says that despite rapidly expanding efforts to deal with the problem, 5 million more people will be infected over the next 20 years. –JCL

The New York Times:

South Africa, already home to 5.7 million H.I.V.-positive people, more than any other nation, can expect an additional five million to become infected during the next two decades even if the nation more than doubles its already considerable financing for treatment and prevention and gives prevention a higher priority, according to a report presented here Friday to the country’s leading advisory body on AIDS policy.

South Africa has far and away the continent’s leading economy, but the study concludes that it nevertheless faces a “major and mounting financial challenge” to confront its AIDS problem, explaining that about $102 billion will need to be spent over the next 20 years merely to keep the number of new infections at the projected five million mark.

“The government doesn’t seem to have their heads around the numbers yet, and they are going to have to do some thinking out of the box,” Teresa Guthrie, an economist and one of the report’s authors, said in an interview. “It’s not an encouraging picture.”

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