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Saturday, March 05, 2005 |
Aids And Behavior Modification
I keep hearing about the AIDS crisis in Africa, and the usual fight over getting cheaper drugs, but I really didn't know the extent of the damage until Kottke pointed out this website with a really dramatic graph on African life expectancy, and how it's completely collapsed over the past 15 years. It's pretty shocking, actually. What's even more shocking to me is that we're still talking about drugs and patent issues. HIV can be managed, but never cured. The only long term solution is prevention. I'm a believer in the abstinence camp: don't fool around until you're married, and then only fool around with your spouse. But I'm not foolish enough to believe that this is the only solution, or that there is any one single magic bullet. What's obvious is that what's needed is titanic scale behavior modification. Fooling around has to got to go. Fooling around without a condom has got to go. Raping virgins based on vodoo medicine has got to go (sorry morons, it doesn't work, no matter what you may have heard). Increasing condom usage through cheap or subsidized distribution, coupled with large scale and small scale education (ie: behavior modification) are proven techniques to get infection rates down. They are relatively cheap compared to drugs, can be implemented immediately without any patent legalities, and work to prevent infection instead of treating it after the fact. I understand that the current US administration is all in bed with the hyper religious right, but they're also in bed with the capitalist drug makers too. And I would have figured that when push comes to shove, money talks (After all, how else to explain how the feds seems to be hell bent on completely screwing over the middle class consumer?). Drug companies' patents (ie: profits) are protected, AIDS infections go down, massive continent wide campaign message of Stop Fooling Around So Damn Much Already! panders to the "religious" , and African economies do not collapse. How is this not a win-win? Why are we still talking about drugs? [via]


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