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Two years ago, Chris Beyrer – an epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, United States – upset Myanmar's public health officials and military leaders with a startling analysis of the country's HIV prevalence.

Beyrer reported that HIV had infected 3.46 per cent of the adults in Myanmar, which contrasted strongly with the UNAIDS estimate of 1.99 per cent. Furthermore, Beyrer's analysis suggests that the virus has spread well beyond high-risk populations.

In this article, Jon Cohen reports that although the difference might seem academic, it has profound public health implications. And if correct, Beyrer's conclusions would fundamentally recast the scope of Myanmar's HIV epidemic.

Link to full Science article

Reference: Science 301, 1652 (2003)

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