View Full Version : Africa and AIDS
21st February 2003, 10:29 AM
New research (http://www.rsm.ac.uk/new/std148main.pdf) is claiming that the spread of AIDS in Africa may have been primarily caused by dirty needles. BBC reports that the UN disagrees (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/2782483.stm).
The researchers claim that evidence that dirty needles are the primary cause was (is) covered up by people in the west with a political agenda that requires heterosexual AIDS transmission to be the primary cause. The UN claims that (1) the primary cause is heterosexual AIDS transmission and (2) studies claiming that dirty needles are to blame are dangerous because Africans will be afraid to get medical treatment.
Here (http://medpundit.blogspot.com/2003_02_16_medpundit_archive.html#90353772) a medical professional comments, and receives a letter from an African health care worker.
What do you guys think?
21st February 2003, 10:55 AM
I dont buy this one little bit.
Sure the use of dirty needles used to be commonplace before the risks became apparent. So this practice may have had something to do with initial spread but does in no way explain the massive explosion of HIV in Africa.
Sorry, dont buy that at all.
From the article:
Good access to medical care: Countries like Zimbabwe, with the best access to medical care, have the highest rates of HIV transmission. "High rates [of HIV] in South Africa have paralleled aggressive efforts to deliver health care to rural populations".
Riskier to be rich: Most STDs are associated with being poor and uneducated. HIV in Africa is associated with urban living, having a good education, and having a higher income. In one hospital in 1984, the rate of HIV in the senior administrators was 9.2%, compared with the average employee rate of 6.4%.
Better wealth and medical care mean better testing regimes. Malawi never seems to figure high up on AIDS stats but some studies done by the WHO indicate that 60% of Malawians are HIV+. Problem is there is no national hospital wide screening program because the country is too poor to afford the 100,000s of ELISAs that are needed. It also ignores the fact that in Cities, many men are away from their wives and tend to boink a lot of whores.
Generally though, the sheer age of the statistics makes them useless and quite irrelevent to the prevention of AIDS today.
I dont even want to think of what Mbeki is going to say about this.:rolleyes:
21st February 2003, 07:49 PM
A friend (who worked for the UN in Zambia on the demographics of AIDS in Zambia) reckoned that one of the reasons for the rapid spread of AIDS was the poor state of primary health care in Africa, and the fact that many Africans waited longer to treat infections than people in the west (reasons?: poverty, ignorance, try a herbalist first... etc?). The net effect of this is that STDs in general were commoner than in the west, and were left longer before treatment. While the likelihood of infection through normal heterosexual sex is fairly low, if you add another STD to the equation then the chances of transmission go through the roof.
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