AIDS - Europe's New Plague

Written by Sam Vaknin

Continued from page 1

Very little is done to confrontrepparttar looming plague. One third of young women in Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan never heard of AIDS. Over-crowded prisons provide no clean needles or condoms to their inmates. There are no early warning "sentinel" programs anywhere. Needle exchanges are unheard of. UNICEF warns, in its report titled "Social Monitor 2002", that HIV/AIDS imperils both future generations andrepparttar 132302 social order.

The political class is unmoved. President Vladimir Putin never as much as mentions AIDS in his litany of speeches. Even Macedonia's western-minded and western-propped president, Boris Trajkovski, dealt withrepparttar 132303 subject forrepparttar 132304 first time only yesterday. Belarus did not bother to apply torepparttar 132305 United Nation's Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria or to draw approved resources fromrepparttar 132306 World Bank's anti-TB/HIV/AIDS project.

In many backward, tribal countries - especially inrepparttar 132307 Balkan and in central Asia -repparttar 132308 subjects of procreation, let alone contraception, are taboo. Vehicles belonging to Medecins du Monde, a French NGO running a pioneer needle exchange program in Russia, were torched. The Orthodox Church has strongly objected to cinema ads promoting safer sex. Sexual education is rare.

Even when education is on offer - like last year's media campaign in Ukraine - it rarely mitigates or alters high-risk conduct. According to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty,repparttar 132309 St. Petersburg AIDS Center carried out a survey of 2000 people who came to be tested there and were consequently exposed to AIDS prevention training. "Neitherrepparttar 132310 men norrepparttar 132311 women had changed their high-risk behavior", isrepparttar 132312 unsettling conclusion.

Ignorance is compounded by a dismal level personal hygiene, notrepparttar 132313 least due to chronically malfunctioning water, sanitation and electricity grids and torepparttar 132314 prohibitive costs of cleansing agents and medicines. Sexually transmitted diseases -repparttar 132315 gateways torepparttar 132316 virus - are rampant. Close to half a million new cases of syphilis are diagnosed annually only in Russia.

The first step in confrontingrepparttar 132317 epidemic is proper diagnosis and acknowledgement ofrepparttar 132318 magnitude ofrepparttar 132319 problem. Macedonia, with 2 million citizens, implausibly claims to harbor only 18 carriers and 5 AIDS patients. A national strategy to confrontrepparttar 132320 syndrome is not due until June next year. Though AIDS medication is theoretically provided free of charge to all patients,repparttar 132321 country's health insurance fund, looted by its management, is unable to afford to import them.

In a year of buoyant tax revenues,repparttar 132322 Russian government reduced spending on AIDS-related issues from $6 million to $5 million. By comparison,repparttar 132323 U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) alone allocated $4 million to Russia's HIV/AIDS activities last year. Another $1.5 were given to Ukraine. Russia blocked last year a $150 million World Bank loan forrepparttar 132324 treatment of tuberculosis and AIDS.

Money is a cardinal issue, though. Christof Ruehl,repparttar 132325 World Bank's chief economist in Russia and Murray Feshbach, a senior scholar atrepparttar 132326 Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, putrepparttar 132327 number of infected people inrepparttar 132328 Russian Federation at 1-1.2 million. Even this figure - five timesrepparttar 132329 official guesstimate - may be irrationally exuberant. A report byrepparttar 132330 US National Intelligence Council forecasts 5-8 million HIV-positives in Russia byrepparttar 132331 end ofrepparttar 132332 decade. Already one third of conscripts are deemed unfit for service due to HIV and hepatitis.

Medicines are scarce. Only 100 of St. Petersburg's 17,000 registered HIV carriers receive retroviral care of any kind. Most of them will die if not given access to free treatment. Yet, even a locally manufactured, generic version, of an annual dose ofrepparttar 132333 least potent antiretroviral cocktail would cost hundreds of dollars - about half a year's wages. At market prices, free medicines for all AIDS sufferers in this vast country would amount to as much as four fifths ofrepparttar 132334 entire federal budget, says Ruehl.

Some pharmaceutical multinationals - spearheaded by Merck - have offeredrepparttar 132335 more impoverished countries ofrepparttar 132336 region, such as Romania, AIDS prescriptions at 10 percent ofrepparttar 132337 retail price inrepparttar 132338 United States. But this is still an unaffordable $1100 per year per patient. To this should be addedrepparttar 132339 cost of repeated laboratory tests and antibiotics - c. $10,000 annually, according torepparttar 132340 New York Times. The average monthly salary in Romania is $100, in Macedonia $160, in Ukraine $60. It is cheaper to die than to be treated for AIDS.

Indeed, society would rather letrepparttar 132341 tainted expire. People diagnosed with AIDS in eastern Europe are superstitiously shunned, sacked from their jobs and mistreated by health and law enforcement authorities. Municipal bureaucracies scuttle evenrepparttar 132342 little initiative shown by reluctant governments. These self-defeating attitudes have changed only in central Europe, notably in Poland where an outbreak of AIDS was contained successfully.

And, thus,repparttar 132343 bleak picture is unlikely to improve soon. UNAIDS, UNICEF and WHO publish country-specific "Epidemiological Factsheets on HIV/AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Infections". The latest edition, released this year, is disheartening. Under-reporting, shoddy, intermittent testing, increasing transmission through heterosexual contact, a rising number of infected children. This is part ofrepparttar 132344 dowry east Europe brings to its long-delayed marriage with a commitment-phobic European Union.

Sam Vaknin ( ) is the author of Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited and After the Rain - How the West Lost the East. He served as a columnist for Central Europe Review, PopMatters, and eBookWeb , and Bellaonline, and as a United Press International (UPI) Senior Business Correspondent. He is the the editor of mental health and Central East Europe categories in The Open Directory and Suite101.

Migration and Brain Drain - Part I

Written by Sam Vaknin

Continued from page 1

Yet, this is far from being true. The developed countries, once a source of such emigration themselves (more than 100,000 European scientists left forrepparttar USA inrepparttar 132300 wake ofrepparttar 132301 Second World War) - actively seek to become its destination by selectively attracting onlyrepparttar 132302 skilled and educated citizens of developing countries. They offer them higher salaries, a legal status (however contingent), and tempting attendant perks. The countries of origin cannot compete, able to offer only $50 a month salaries, crumbling universities, shortages of books and lab equipment, and an intellectual wasteland.

The European Commission had this to say last month:

"The Commission proposes, therefore, thatrepparttar 132303 Union recognizerepparttar 132304 realities ofrepparttar 132305 situation of today: that onrepparttar 132306 one hand migratory pressures will continue and that onrepparttar 132307 other hand in a context of economic growth and a declining and aging population, Europe needs immigrants. In this context our objective is notrepparttar 132308 quantitative increase in migratory flows but better management in qualitative terms so as to realize more fullyrepparttar 132309 potential of immigrants' admitted."

Andrepparttar 132310 EU's Social and Employment Commission added, as it forecast a deficit of 1.7 million workers in Information and Communications Technologies throughoutrepparttar 132311 Union:

"A declining EU workforce due to demographic changes suggests that immigration of third country nationals would also help satisfy some ofrepparttar 132312 skill needs [inrepparttar 132313 EU]. Reforms of tax benefit systems may be necessary to help people make up their minds to move to a location where they can get a job...while ensuring thatrepparttar 132314 social objectives of welfare systems are not undermined."

In Hong Kong,repparttar 132315 "Admission of Talents Scheme" (1999) and "The Admission of Mainland Professionals Scheme" (May 2001) allow mainlanders to enter it for 12 month periods, if they:

"Possess outstanding qualifications, expertise or skills which are needed but not readily available in Hong Kong. They must have good academic qualifications, normally a doctorate degree inrepparttar 132316 relevant field."

Accordingrepparttar 132317 January 2002 issue of "Migration News", even now, with unemployment running at almost 6%,repparttar 132318 US H1-B visa program allows 195,000 foreigners with academic degrees to enterrepparttar 132319 US for up to 6 years and "upgrade" to immigrant status while in residence. Many H1-B visas were cancelled due torepparttar 132320 latest economic slowdown - butrepparttar 132321 US provides other kinds of visas (E type) to people who invest in its territory by, for instance, opening a consultancy.

The UK has just implementedrepparttar 132322 Highly Skilled Migrant Programme which allows "highly mobile people withrepparttar 132323 special talents that are required in a modern economy" to enterrepparttar 132324 UK for a period of one year (with indefinite renewal). Even xenophobic Japan allowed in 222,000 qualified foreigners last year (doublerepparttar 132325 figure in 1994).

Germany has absorbed 10,000 computer programmers (mainly from India and Eastern Europe) since July 2000. Ireland was planning to import twenty times as many over 7 years - beforerepparttar 132326 dotcoms bombed. According to "The Economist", more than 10,000 teachers have left Ecuador since 1998. More than half of all Ghanaian medical doctors have emigrated (120 in 1998 alone). More than 60% of all Ethiopian students abroad never return. There are 64,000 university educated Nigerians inrepparttar 132327 USA alone. More than 43% of all Africans living in North America have acquired at least a bachelor's degree.

Barry Chiswick and Timothy Hatton demonstrated ("International Migration andrepparttar 132328 Integration of Labour Markets", published byrepparttar 132329 NBER in its "Globalisation in Historical Perspective") that, asrepparttar 132330 economies of poor countries improve, emigration increases because people become sufficiently wealthy to financerepparttar 132331 trip.

Poorer countries invest an average of $50,000 of their painfully scarce resources in every university graduate - only to witness most of them emigrate to richer places. The haves-not thus end up subsidizingrepparttar 132332 haves by exporting their human capital,repparttar 132333 prospective members of their dwindling elites, andrepparttar 132334 taxes they would have paid had they stayed put. The formation of a middle class is often irreversibly hindered by an all-pervasive brain drain.


Sam Vaknin ( ) is the author of Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited and After the Rain - How the West Lost the East. He served as a columnist for Central Europe Review, PopMatters, and eBookWeb , and Bellaonline, and as a United Press International (UPI) Senior Business Correspondent. He is the the editor of mental health and Central East Europe categories in The Open Directory and Suite101.

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