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Good Nutrition Is Defense Against AIDS, Andrew Young Says

      WASHINGTON - Genetically engineered foods may be used as a temporary defense against AIDS in Africa, a former Carter administration official told a Senate panel Wednesday.

      ``In the absence of a cure, what can you do to keep people healthy? We have found that nutrition is a secondary defense for AIDS,'' said former U.N. Ambassador Andrew Young, now chairman of Goodworks International in Atlanta.

      Young said while keeping people infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, healthy through good nutrition is not a panacea, it could be used to help victims cope through support groups as well as work to keep victims as strong as possible in their battle against the ravaging disease.

      According to the UNICEF children''s agency, every minute HIV infects six people under the age of 24 and many young people in the worst-hit countries do not know they are at risk.

      In its annual Progress of Nations report issued at the International Aids Conference in Durban, South Africa on Wednesday, UNICEF said girls and young women worldwide were 50 percent more likely to contract HIV than young men. And in sub-Saharan Africa, almost half of girls aged 15 to 19 did not know that a person who looked healthy could still be carrying HIV and pass it to them through sex.

      Attempting to combat such diseases and malnutrition common to Third World countries with the rapidly developing genetically modified food science stands a good chance of receiving support from the Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee.

      For example, genetically modified rice enhanced with Vitamin A is the bold new hope for combating some 2 million child deaths per year and reducing blindness.

      Biotechnology is also boasted to improve the quality and quantity of crops, and could prove a powerful asset to Third World country farmers.

      Assistant Secretary of State David Sandalow urged the committee to look past trade conflicts with Europe over genetically modified crops and see that developing countries are asking for guidance and support using science to address the problems of hunger, malnutrition, disease and poverty.

      ``In the fight against hunger and poverty, the weapon of biotechnology must be part of our arsenal,'' Sandalow said.

     

     

c.2000 Cox News Service




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