Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Poverty and AIDS

Bosibori Ndemo's article of the 19th of February got me thinking about the reality of HIV-AIDS and the power of the media in shaping our perceptions on disease.

The dominant view is that the high prevalence rates in Africa are caused by the nature of sexual behaviour there. This view excludes other important factors such as poverty and biological factors. However only the most prejudiced would choose to ignore the fact that HIV has only a 1% prevalence rate in permissive American society, but reach 25% in Africa. Partner exchange rates and unprotected sex have no reason to be higher in Africa than anywhere else. The charge that it is sexual behaviour that sets African infection rates apart has not been made, but it is implicit in an HIV combat strategy that has the ABC doctrine at its core.

Stephen Wanyama links the AIDS epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa with poverty advocating for improved health care and nutrition across Africa.