Author: James Chin; Helen Epstein
Publisher: Radcliffe; Farrar, Straus & Giroux
Publication date: 2007
Reviewer: Stephen Lewis and Paula Donovan
EN | 中文
Two new books on HIV/AIDS hold the UN responsible for creating problems in the global response to the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
In The AIDS Pandemic: The Collision of Epidemiology with Political Correctness, James Chin says statistics on the prevalence of HIV/AIDS — estimated by testing women who visit prenatal clinics — have been greatly exaggerated by the UN.
He says prevalence rates in China and India will never reach those seen in Africa because a pattern of serial partners, rather than multiple, concurrent sexual relationships, is the norm.
According to Chin, the UN has inflated prevalence figures to bring in money, to avoid racial stereotyping and because promoting the idea that HIV/AIDS is prevalent in the general population — rather than hard-to-reach high-risk groups — makes it easier to manage.
He says targeted prevention programmes are the only way to prevent high-risk individuals from becoming infected.
In The Invisible Cure: AIDS in Africa, Helen Epstein, like Chin, argues that the virus spreads most effectively through a network of concurrent sexual partners. She cites Uganda, where the practice of concurrent relationships ended and the prevalence of HIV/AIDS subsequently dropped, as a case in point.
In contrast to slick advertising and donor-driven projects in other African countries, Epstein points to an indigenous, grassroots campaign of discussing sexual behaviour as the root of this success.
She blames the UN for failing to act on the knowledge that promoting fewer numbers of concurrent sexual partners decreases prevalence rates.
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Bob stock ( frankpublisher.wordpress.com | United Kingdom )
3 March 2009
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