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More than altruism behind donations of AIDS drugs to Africa

HOUSTON A variety of motives are behind several recent drug company announcements of donations of HIV/AIDS drugs to African countries. Certainly, something needs to be done to control existing cases of HIV/AIDS, in addition to the lifestyle changes that would reduce the number of new AIDS cases. By the end of this year, 36.1 million people will be living with HIV or AIDS, according to the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and the World Health Organization (WHO).WHO and UNAIDS res

John Borchardt

HOUSTON A variety of motives are behind several recent drug company announcements of donations of HIV/AIDS drugs to African countries. Certainly, something needs to be done to control existing cases of HIV/AIDS, in addition to the lifestyle changes that would reduce the number of new AIDS cases. By the end of this year, 36.1 million people will be living with HIV or AIDS, according to the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

WHO and UNAIDS researchers have concluded that at least $3 billion annually is needed in Africa alone to cover prevention and care, including treatment of opportunistic infections in HIV-infected patients. Anti-retroviral therapy would cost several billion dollars more. Current aid efforts fall far short of this. The US is the biggest bilateral donor of HIV/AIDS aid, investing $1 billion in 75 developing countries in the past decade in prevention, education and...

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