On 1 December — World AIDS Day — the World Health Organisation (WHO) announced a new programme. It aims to treat 3 million people suffering from HIV or AIDS with billions of dollars' worth of antiretroviral drugs by 2005. But is this the best way to combat Africa's AIDS crisis?
In this article, John Kilama, president of the Global Bioscience Development Institute in Wilmington, Delaware, argues that it is Africa's poor healthcare infrastructure that needs a boost, not its stock of drugs. Effective treatments are cheap and available — but if clinics and hospitals are unable to deliver them properly, it is all a waste, he says.
HIV/AIDS prevention was once WHO's central priority. And rightly so, says Kilama: along with viable healthcare, education is still the only real way to control the epidemic.