LEAD: A World Health Organization official said today that a "dangerous complacency" threatens to cripple efforts to counter an expected tenfold increase in AIDS cases over the next decade.
A World Health Organization official said today that a "dangerous complacency" threatens to cripple efforts to counter an expected tenfold increase in AIDS cases over the next decade.
The official, Jonathan M. Mann, director of the organization's Global Programme on AIDS, said the number of cases worldwide is still expected to approach six million by the turn of the century. About 600,000 people are now believed to be ill with acquired immune deficiency syndrome.
Dr. Mann said the number of people infected with the virus that causes AIDS is estimated at six million to eight million worldwide. That number is expected to double or triple in the 1990's, he told the National Commission on AIDS, which was established last year to advise the President and Congress on AIDS.
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"Despite all efforts, the global epidemic is gaining momentum," Dr. Mann said. "Major barriers to more effective action still exist, and dangerous complacency about AIDS is spreading."
He said a successful foundation for fighting the epidemic has been built around strategies to slow the spread of the virus and the development of treatment therapies.
"Yet if complacency, indifference or denial lead to relaxation of current efforts or to a decrease in future commitment to AIDS, we will falter and fall further and further behind the pace of the worldwide epidemic," he said.
Dr. Mann called for increased financial and political commitments by the United States to the Global Programme on AIDS, which helps countries set up national AIDS education and prevention programs.
The United States contribution to the World Health Organization program was $25.5 million in 1989, about 30 percent of the program's budget, he said, adding that he anticipated that the American contribution would be $21 million in 1990, or 20 percent of the budget.
Dr. Mann said the United States could help most by increasing its direct financial support of AIDS programs abroad. He did not suggest how much.
Dr. Mann's talk began a two-day meeting of the commission. His estimate of six million AIDS cases by the year 2000 is about the same as the agency's projection in May.