From the May 31, 2008 British Medical Journal
June 2, 2008
by Jeremiah Norris
Finally, our attention is brought to the mythology of AIDS inour community.1 In November 2007 UNAIDS reported that the AIDSpandemic was not increasing, global HIV prevalence being 33.2million in 2007 and 39.5 million in 2006 and global HIV incidence2.5 million in 2007 and 4.3 million in 2006.2
The original proposition that HIV was exceptional led to suchpublic health diversions as the use of option C by the GlobalFund to Fight HIV/AIDS: procurement of products not reviewedby a regulatory authority. In 2007, of 2254 single or limitedsource products procured, a fifth was purchased using optionC.3
The exceptionality of AIDS posited that price was the barrieron access to medicines for the poor. This ignored the incipientcauses of HIV and AIDS: "The prime mover of the epidemic isnot inadequate antiretroviral medications, poverty, or bad luckbut our inability to accept the gothic dimensions of a diseasethat is transmitted sexually. Only when we cease to dodge thisfact will effective HIV control be established."4
Continuing the mythology of AIDS would be self servig to itsadvocates and perpetuate the dire circumstances of the poorby labelling them optional patients.
4. Sepkowitz KA. One disease, two epidemics—AIDS at 25. N Engl J Med 2006;354:2411-4.[Free Full Text]
Jeremiah Norris is a Senior Fellow and Director of Hudson Institute's Center for Science in Public Policy. He specializes in public-private partnerships in development assistance, trade and development, and global AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria policies.
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