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    The belated global response to AIDS in Africa.

    Gellman B

    Washington Post. 2000 Jul 5; A1.

    This article describes the political infighting, quiet racism, and overall neglect that have impeded the industrialized world’s reaction to the AIDS epidemic. It is noted that less than 20 years after physicians first described its symptoms, HIV has now infected 53 million people and has claimed the lives of 19 million people. In wealthy nations, effective drug therapies against AIDS became available, such as zidovudine in 1987 and then combinations of antiretroviral agents in 1996. But according to AIDS experts, combating the disease requires governments to interpose themselves into controversies of sex, injected drugs, and other taboos. It also requires people in the developed world to make Africa and Africans a priority. Even the WHO has had trouble confronting such realities. In addition, combating AIDS requires costly change in economies and national cultures. In this perspective, the US government, African governments, the World Bank, WHO, and the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) are still struggling to agree on, and implement a prevention program in sub-Saharan Africa that would include hundreds of million of dollars in youth- focused education, intensive counseling of sex workers, provision and "social marketing" of condoms and much more aggressive treatment of lesser venereal disease. Some are waiting for a vaccine, but it is noted that it took 183 years between the discovery of a smallpox vaccine and the disease’s eradication.
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