In , Botswana’s second largest city, nearly half of all pregnant women in the main hospital test positive for HIV.The picture in the rest of sub-Saharan Africa is nearly as dire.The virus has spread extremely rapidly in Botswana.Two decades ago, virtually no one there was HIV-positive.AIDS has killed Zulu nurses in South Africa, Masai teachers in Tanzania, Kikuyu housewives in Kenya, Pygmy elders in Uganda.HIV infection rates range from around 6 percent in Uganda to 39 percent in Swaziland.Such numbers are astronomical compared with most of the world.
Yet this country, with all these advantages, has the highest HIV-infection rate in the world.
Even in Thailand, with its thriving sex and drug trades, the proportion of infected barely exceeds 2 percent.
The high rates come despite efforts in many communities to stem the HIV epidemic through educational programs, condom distribution, and treatment for such sexually transmitted diseases as gonorrhea and syphilis, which create genital sores and ulcers that make it easier for the virus to spread.
In most cases these programs have had little effect.
The growing disaster has forced AIDS experts to reconsider old theories about how HIV spreads in Africa.