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The Future of AIDS

Courtesy Reuters

GRIM TOLL IN RUSSIA, INDIA, AND CHINA

HIV/AIDS is a disease at once amazingly virulent and shockingly new. Only a generation ago, it lay undetected. Yet in the past two decades, by the reckoning of the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), about 65 million people have contracted the illness, and perhaps 25 million of them have already died. The affliction is almost invariably lethal: scientists do not consider a cure to be even on the horizon. For now, it looks as if AIDS could end up as the coming century's top infectious killer.

At present, the HIV/AIDS pandemic, though global, is overwhelmingly concentrated in sub-Saharan Africa. Although this situation has exacted a terrible human cost, the rest of the world has been largely unaffected by Africa's tragedy. Things will be very different, however, in the next major area of HIV infection. Eurasia (which for the purposes of this

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