Britain urges action as Commonwealth shown to have 60% of all new Aids cases

BRITAIN YESTERDAY called on the Commonwealth to put the fight against Aids at the top of its agenda, pledging pounds 22.7m to fighting the disease in southern Africa, and earmarking two-thirds of the funds for vaccine development.

Tony Blair, who arrived at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Durban yesterday brought a report saying 60 per cent of new infections by HIV, the Aids virus, are in Commonwealth countries.

The report showed sub-Saharan Africa has two-thirds of the world's HIV infections in only one-tenth of the population. By 2010, said the report, life expectancy in the nine countries with the highest rate of HIV will have fallen from around 60 years to nearly 40. "Because we have made such progress at home, there is a danger of complacency about the sheer scale of the problem,'' said Mr Blair. "More than 90 per cent of all HIV-Aids cases are in developing countries. This is a disaster in economic, social and human terms."

Parts of the region - Zimbabwe, Malawi and Zambia - have the highest rates of HIV in the world, equally between men and women. In KwaZulu- Natal, which is hosting the summit, 33 per cent of pregnant women tested positive last year. The UN says there are 100,000 orphans of parents who died from Aids in the province.

Britain's donation is part of a pounds 100m programme, announced earlier this year to tackle Aids worldwide. It includes pounds 14m for vaccine development through a New York- based body which gives grants to researchers in return for partial intellectual property rights when a serum is found.

Victor Zonana, spokesman for the International Aids Vaccine Initiative (Iavi), said: "'A vaccine, even if it takes several years to reach the population, represents the best hope for the developing world.

"It is a route which has been neglected by the pharmaceutical companies because they see it as unprofitable and scientifically tough to achieve, and because the pressure in the industrialised world has been on treatment.''

Iavi, which is also backed by several US foundations, is funding research on two potential vaccines, one in Oxford and the other by researchers in South Africa and the US. Both are in early trial stages and not available for five to 10 years.

Mr Zonana added: `'It is crucial not to abandon preventative work and we must guard against magic bullet-ism. Our concern is the long-term.''

Yesterday, at a small HIV-Aids information centre run by the YMCA in the Durban township of Umlazi, a South African health economist, Alan Whiteside, urged the international community to step up its support for Aids prevention in the developing world.

He trains and sends out township teenagers for peer-education. "Life expectancy is now 55 in KwaZulu-Natal," he added. "Ten years ago it was 65. Every development gain in the last 30 years is being wiped out. In many African countries, the hospitals are overflowing.''

One peer trainer, Vusi Khuzwayo, 20, said misconceptions among young people he met were that Aids could be transmitted on cutlery and men could be cured if they had sex with virgins. "I talk to kids as young as nine and they know little. Their parents do not talk to them and they are afraid their house will be burnt if the neighbours find out."

George Foulkes, the deputy aid minister , said: "In Britain there are 1,600 new cases of HIV infection a year. In KwaZulu Natal there are 1,600 new cases each day."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Sport
Ojo Onaolapo celebrates winning the bronze medal
commonwealth games
Arts and Entertainment
Rock band Led Zeppelin in the early 1970s
musicLed Zeppelin to release alternative Stairway To Heaven after 43 years
News
i100
News
Prince Harry is clearing enjoying the Commonwealth Games judging by this photo
people(a real one this time)
Extras
indybest
News
Richard Norris in GQ
mediaGQ features photo shoot with man who underwent full face transplant
Sport
Lionel Messi looks on at the end of the final
football
News
Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
News
Your picture is everything in the shallow world of online dating
i100
News
The Swiss Re tower or 'Gherkin' was at one time the UK’s most expensive office when German bank IVG and private equity firm Evans Randall bought it
news
Life and Style
Attractive women on the Internet: not a myth
techOkCupid boasts about Facebook-style experiments on users
Sport
Van Gaal said that his challenge in taking over Bobby Robson's Barcelona team in 1993 has been easier than the task of resurrecting the current United side
football
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Account Manager, Spanish, London Bridge

£30,000 + 20K Commssion: Charter Selection: This rapidly expanding organisatio...

Account Manager, Spanish, London Bridge

£30,000 + 20K Commssion: Charter Selection: This rapidly expanding organisatio...

Account Manager, London Bridge

£30,000 + 20K Commssion: Charter Selection: This rapidly expanding organisatio...

Electrical Technician

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Urgent requirement for Electrical Techni...

Day In a Page

The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on