What’s your status? Ten facts to mark the 30th World AIDS Day

A woman walks by the Pyramid of Cestius is illuminated in red for the World AIDS Day, in Rome, on Friday, Nov. 30 2018. (AP)
Updated 01 December 2018
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What’s your status? Ten facts to mark the 30th World AIDS Day

  • The first cases of AIDS are reported among gay men in Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York
  • The disease is found in several European countries, including Britain and France

LONDON: The global campaign to end AIDS has made significant strides but the epidemic remains one of the world’s leading public health challenges, affecting almost 37 million people.
Campaigners say one of the biggest challenges in the fight to end AIDS is encouraging people to get tested and making them aware of treatment and prevention services.
The theme of the 30th anniversary of World AIDS Day, which shows support for people living with HIV and commemorates those who have died, is “Know your Status.”
Here are 10 facts about HIV/AIDS.

- About 35 million people have died from AIDS- or HIV-related illnesses since 1981, including 940,000 in 2017.
- Increased awareness and access to antiretroviral drugs have more than halved the number of AIDS-related deaths since 2004.
- An estimated 77 million people have become infected with HIV since the start of the epidemic in 1981, including 1.8 million in 2017.
- Every week, almost 7,000 young women aged between 15 and 24 are infected with HIV.
- In sub-Saharan Africa young women are twice as likely to be living with HIV than men.
- South Africa has the world’s highest HIV prevalence, with almost one in five people infected.
- One in four people, about 9 million, are unaware that they are HIV-positive.
- UNAIDS wants nine in 10 people to know their status by 2020.
- Almost 22 million people were accessing antiretroviral drugs in 2017, compared with 8 million in 2010.
- Eight out of 10 pregnant women living with HIV received treatment in 2017, compared with less than half in 2010. Sources: UNAIDS, World Health Organization, Avert, HIV.gov


Accused Russian agent Butina poised to plead guilty -US court papers

In this April 21, 2013, file photo, Maria Butina, leader of a pro-gun organization in Russia, speaks to a crowd during a rally in support of legalizing the possession of handguns in Moscow, Russia. (AP)
Updated 17 min 9 sec ago
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Accused Russian agent Butina poised to plead guilty -US court papers

  • In a Dec. 8, 2016, class project at American University, she gave a presentation titled “What Might President Trump’s Foreign Policy Be Toward Russia?” and listed several of Russia’s policy objectives

WASHINGTON: Accused Russian agent Maria Butina, suspected of trying to infiltrate the National Rifle Association and influence US policy toward Russia, is expected to plead guilty this week following a deal between her lawyers and US prosecutors, according to court filings on Monday.
Exactly how the deal will be structured for Butina was not immediately clear. US District Judge Tanya Chutkan in Washington scheduled a hearing for Wednesday.
CNN reported on Monday that Butina had already begun to cooperate with prosecutors, citing one source familiar with the matter. A representative for the US Attorney’s Office declined to comment on the case.
ABC News first reported that Butina would cooperate with prosecutors.
Butina, a former American University graduate student, had previously pleaded not guilty to US charges in July that she was acting as an agent of the Russian government and conspiring to take actions on Russia’s behalf.
Prosecutors have accused her of working with a Russian official and two US citizens to try to infiltrate the powerful NRA lobby group that has close ties to Republican politicians including President Donald Trump, and influence Washington’s policy toward Moscow.
Butina’s lawyers previously identified the Russian official as Alexander Torshin, a deputy governor of Russia’s central bank who was hit with US Treasury Department sanctions in April.
One of the two Americans mentioned in the prosecutors’ criminal complaint was Paul Erickson, a conservative US political activist who was dating Butina. Neither Erickson nor Torshin has been accused by prosecutors of wrongdoing.
Butina’s cooperation will mainly focus on telling investigators about the role of Erickson and her interactions with Russian officials, CNN reported.
The case against Butina is being prosecuted by the US Attorney’s Office in Washington and the National Security Division, and not US Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 US election and any coordination between Moscow and Trump campaign members.
The government’s complaint against Butina did not explicitly mention Trump’s campaign. Trump has denied any collusion with Moscow occurred.
Reuters previously reported, however, that Butina was a Trump supporter who bragged at parties in Washington that she could use her political connections to help get people jobs in the Trump administration.
In a Dec. 8, 2016, class project at American University, she gave a presentation titled “What Might President Trump’s Foreign Policy Be Toward Russia?” and listed several of Russia’s policy objectives, according to a copy reviewed by Reuters.
Whether she could help shed any light on contacts between Trump’s campaign and Russia is not known.
Moreover, the prosecutors in her case have previously made mistakes, including erroneously accusing Butina of offering sex in exchange for a position in a special interest group. The errors could possibly have helped give Butina more leverage in reaching a plea deal.