Progress in Research is Coming
AIDS, the Worldwide Threat
By Jan Ziegler
UPI Science Writer
WASHINGTON—The AIDS virus
could cause 500,000 to 3 million cases of
the deadly disease worldwide over the
next five year's, invading South America and Asia unless preventive measures are taken, a World Health
Organization official said last Thursday, Dec. 4.
AIDS has been detected in 78 countries, with cases concentrated in the
United States and Africa, said Dr. Jonathan Mann, director of WHO's AIDS
program. The disease is just beginning
to take hold in Asia and South America.
"Brazil has the potential to have an
African-style epidemic of AIDS," Mann
said at a news briefing.
In a separate development,
researchers at the National Cancer
Institute and others reported for the
first time they had demonstrated that
only a fragment of a protein in the AIDS
virus may be needed to produce an anti-
The researchers, reporting in the journal Science, said animals tested in the
study produced antibodies that neutralized the AIDS virus in test tubes. The
scientists, are beginning tests in chimpanzees.
At least half a dozen other vaccine
candidates are being investigated but
these tend to rely on whole protein fragments. The new protein section can be
cheaply mass-produced. It is uncertain
which candidate will be effective in
However, Mann said that even if a
vaccine is developed, AIDS will remain
a problem because two generations-
adults and some children—already
have been infected with the virus.
WHO is convening a meeting Dec. 1 5-
16 of four officials each from the United
States, Africa and Europe to discuss
how to set up human field trials of
potential vaccines should any reach
that stage, he said.
Mann said the pattern of transmission in Brazil is the same as in the United States—that is, the disease is
appearing mostly in homosexual and
bisexual men and among drug abusers.
However, in that country as in the rest
of South America, the government still
mistakenly believes "this is not a big
problem," he said.
In Asia and particularly Bangkok,
Thailand, where AIDS virus is "knocking on the door," a major problem is
patronage of prostitutes and sexual
tourism—travelers visiting the country
for a particular sexual experience,
Sexual tourism also is a problem in
Australia, where AIDS is just beginning in the drug addict population, and
New Zealand, Mann said.
Those two countries have not yet
begun to examine how much of a problem AIDS is and will be for them, Mann
Mann said no country can consider
itself immune to AIDS, even if it has
reported no cases so far, and should
have a national program or commission
to deal with the disease.
He said 5 million to 10 million people
around the world are infected with the
acquired immune deficiency virus. With
a 10 percent to 30 percent case rate,
500,000 to 3 million of those infected wil 1
develop AIDS in the next five years.
The figures do not include people who
become infected with the virus in the
In Africa, an estimated 2 million people have been infected. About 1,819
cases of AIDS have been reported, but
the actual total is believed to be much
Worldwide, 36,210 cases have been
reported to WHO. Of those, 28,246 have
been U.S. cases, with 15,853resultingin
The AIDS virus is spread through
intimate sexual contact, contaminated
blood products or needles and from
mother to fetus or newborn. The disease
is incurable at this time. Education,
with emphasis on condom use and avoidance of needle sharing, is the only way
to keep people from transmitting the
Mann made his remarks at a briefing
sponsored by the Panos Institute, a policy study and information organization.
accuses nun of
BROWNSVILLE (UPI)-A South
Texas man has filed a lawsuit charging
that a Roman Catholic nun engaged in
a sexual relationship with his wife.
The nun, Sister Mary Kregar, denied
all the allegations in an answer filed to
The $500,000 "alienation of affects"
suit, filed without benefit of an attorney,
names the Catholic Diocese of Brownsville, the Archdiocese of Texas and
Kregar as defendants.
Steve Woolverton, of nearby Port
Isabel, contends in the suit filed in 197th
District Court that the nun used her
"position of trust" to seduce his wife.
Mary Woolverton, when she sought consolation during a period of "emotional
dependency" after the death of her
DECEMBER 9, 1986 / MONTROSE VOICE 5
By Glenn Whitney
MEXICO CITY (UPI)-Health Ministry officials said last Thursday, Dec. 4,
that the number of AIDS cases was doubling each year in Mexico but has not
yet reached epidemic proportion.
Health Minister Guillermo Soberon
said in a news conference that 249 cases
of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome cases have been officially
reported in the country of 80 million people.
He also agreed with an estimate ofthe
Atlanta Center for Disease Control that
for every confirmed AIDS case, there
are another 50 to 100 people infected
with the disease.
"That is why we have begun to closely
monitor the problem," he said.
The ministry issued an order Dec. 3
requiring all doctors, for the first time,
to report AIDS cases to the government.
Jaime Sepulveda, national director of
epidemiology, the branch ofthe Health
Ministry in charge of monitoring the
disease, told the same news conference
that AIDS cases have been "doubling
each year" for the past three years.
Sepulveda said the first reported case
of AIDS in Mexico was a Hatian immigrant in the first part of 1981. The first
Mexican AIDS case was reported a year
later, he said.
Sepulveda said, similar to the situation in the United States, 90 percent of
all AIDS cases in Mexico are gay men
and bisexuals. The other 10 percent are
made up of hemophiliacs, intravenous
drug users and heterosexuals, he said.
The director ofthe national system of
Private Hospitals and Clinics charged
two weeks ago that the country's blood
banks are a dangerous source of the disease.
Several newspapers reported that as
much as six percent of the plasma in
private hospital blood banks is contaminated with the AIDS virus.
Sepulveda said this figure was probably incorrect. However, he said the
government recently approved a 500
million peso ($575,000) program to
revise the nation's blood banks and test
would-be blood donors.
Sepulveda admitted, if left
unchecked, AIDS contaminated blood
"could become a very serious problem in
According to Sepulveda, AIDS is now
a nation-wide problem given that 85 percent of Mexican states have reported
cases. The majority of cases, however,
have been reported in Mexico City and
Jalisco state, Sepulveda said.
The epidemiology director said half of
the reported AIDS patients in Mexico
Soberon said sensationalism could
easily exaggerate the problem and
called on the Mexican media to educate
people rather than frighten them.
"We're still far away from the situation in other countries," he said.