In the 23 years since the HIV virus was discovered, AIDS has become recognized as a “disease of the poor,” one that is “incurable” but “100 percent preventable,” in the words of its co-discoverer, Professor Luc Montagnier, president of the World Foundation for AIDS Research and Prevention. While over 40 million people in the world are currently infected with this deadly virus — more than half of them in Africa where nutrition is poor and education inadequate — the virus has not been brought under control in Japan, the world’s second-largest economy. In fact, HIV infections are on the increase, particularly among youths.
Seriously concerned by this trend, Japanese medical experts are urging the government to act quickly to raise public awareness, particularly among young people, and allocate more resources for its prevention. This is a serious problem and it is frightening, said a senior official at the National Institute of Infectious Diseases (NIID) who asked to be unnamed.