The Great Lakes Research Journal

In-depth reviews of issues and challenges facing Central Africa – ISSN: 1554-0391

A deal was signed Saturday between the government of Sudan and the Justice and Equality Movement (Jem) in the capital of Chad, N’Djamena. Unfortunately, it’s not a permanent peace deal.

The details of the accord include the cancellation of death sentences for rebel fighters, an immediate ceasefire, and also includes the framework for future peace talks.

While this is a big development in the stabilization of the Darfur conflict, the fact that it isn’t a permanent deal somewhat tempers the hope that it will end soon. Also, the important Sudan Liberation Army-AbdulWahid faction has refused to speak with the government. Nothing of any real significance can really happen without this faction coming to the bargaining table.

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Dr. Brian Williams, who works at the South African Centre for Epidemiological Modelling and Analysis (Sacema) in Stellenbosch, believes that the spread of Aids in South Africa could be stopped by using Anti-retroviral treatments (ARVs) and universal testing.

According to Dr. Williams, “The tragedy is that the disease continues unabated. The only real success story is the development of these extremely effective drugs that keep people alive and reduce their viral load by up to 2,000 times. They become close to non-infectious.”

Dr. Williams stated that everyone in South Africa who is HIV positive could receive the ARV treatment within five years if clinical trials began immediately.

“We could break the back of the epidemic. If we can do it, I’m confident it will work.”

Since it has taken so long to develop a vaccine against the HIV virus, and there doesn’t seem to be one coming any time soon, then it seems prudent to give Dr. Williams’ idea a chance. Especially if it can lessen the suffering of millions of people and stop the spread of the disease.

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