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Medical News & Perspectives
August 14, 2002

At International HIV/AIDS Conference, Daunting Challenges Mixed With Hope

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JAMA. 2002;288(6):683-685. doi:10.1001/jama.288.6.683

Barcelona—While a loop of red ribbon has become a familiar symbol of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, perhaps the spirit of the XIV International AIDS Conference convening here could be better summed up by wei-ji, the Chinese ideogram for "crisis" that is said to encompass the symbols of both "danger" and "opportunity."

The danger is represented by the fates of the estimated 40 million people who are currently infected and the 15 000 individuals who are infected each day worldwide, as well as in the daunting challenges posed by the infection, such as HIV's ability to mutate and develop resistance to the antiretroviral drug armamentarium. At the same time, opportunities abound: for preventive efforts, for the development of new drugs, and for making medications and care available to the vast majority of people with AIDS who currently have no access to such life-extending measures.

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