Opinion

Letter

H.I.V./AIDS

Re: Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffet: Reshaping Global Health

To the Editor:

Regarding the article about Warren Buffett's $33 billion going to the Gates Foundation: there is a danger that increased funding going to AIDS could drive HIV infection rates UP. Consider: when ARV drugs were made available in "developed countries," like the USA, HIV incidence among gay men increased due to the disinhibiting effect on sexual behavior due to ARV availability. And consider the South African LoveLife program, by far the most expensive AIDS prevention program in Africa. HIV incidence & prevalence is rising among South African youth, the very group targeted by LoveLife.

Think about it: The African country that has put the greatest amount of money into AIDS prevention is the only African country in where HIV prevalence is still clearly rising. See iafrica.com/news/sa/704394.htm for further summary evidence of this failure. My point is, money will not solve the AIDS problem. Money can even make it worse (in Africa, poorer countries with fewer AIDS programs tend to have lower HIV prevalence.) Someone without the usual Western high-tech biomedical biases needs to talk to Mr Buffett about this.

Edward Green
Cambridge, Mass.

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