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Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Africans follow HIV regimen better than North Americans

I have long argued against the notion that lack of education is the source of the HIV epidemic in Africa. You always hear it: the reason people don't protect themselves in Africa is because they are unaware, they don't know. Of course the real reason the HIV epidemic has spread in Africa is poverty. You can only exercise choices when you are in a position of autonomy, which poverty destroys.

Now the LA Times reports a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Africans follow HIV regimens better than North Americans. That is important news, because it takes away one more reason not to distribute medication in Africa. Pharmaceutical industry leaders argued against wide distribution using exactly the argument that Africans won't follow the regimen, necessary for success, due to lack of education. Yes, that is playing on racist stereotypes. The argument won't hold any longer.

Of course, now the real challenge is to educate Americans. That seems an impossible task sometimes.

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