1621AIDS in Africa
- Aug 24, 2000"Loans to Buy AIDS Drugs Are Rejected by Africans"
New York Times (www.nytimes.com) (08/22/00) P. A6; Swarns, Rachel
South Africa and Namibia have refused the United States' offer
of $1 billion in yearly loans to finance the purchase of AIDS drugs.
The African countries stated that affordable drugs are needed and
that the loans would only burden their economies and send them
further into debt. The U.S. Export-Import Bank made the loan
offer to 24 southern African countries, but none have formally
accepted the offer so far. Developing countries have been urging
the West to make less expensive anti-AIDS drugs and to allow poor
countries to overcome patents in order to manufacture generic
versions of the drugs. Earlier this year, the Clinton
administration issued an executive order promising not to
interfere with African countries that did not follow American
patent law to secure cheaper drugs. Dr. Kalumbi Shangula, the
permanent secretary for the Namibian Ministry of Health, believes
that efforts to support generic drugs are more helpful than loan
programs. He stated that accepting the loans would send the
country "deeply into debt."
"Battling AIDS in Africa by Empowering Women"
New York Times (www.nytimes.com) (08/22/00) P. D3; Dreifus,
An interview with Dr. Nancy Padian, an epidemiologist who
is director of research for the AIDS Research Institute of the
University of California at San Francisco, sheds light on her
work in Zimbabwe. Dr. Padian commutes between San Francisco and
Harare to teach Zimbabwean health workers about how to control
the AIDS epidemic. By running studies on the effects of
contraception in preventing HIV in women, Padian teaches the
women to use barrier methods like condoms. She explains that
women have little power to negotiate condom use, but she teaches
them to plan for obstacles. Compared to American women, women in
southern Africa are much more vulnerable to HIV because of there
is a higher prevalence of other sexually transmitted diseases;
some women engage in "dry sex," using chemical or other means to
dry up cervical and vaginal secretions prior to having sex; and
it is not unusual for African men to have several sex partners.
Being married is a risk factor for HIV in Zimbabwe, Padian
explains, because the women are typically monogamous, but their
husbands may not be. The infection rate in Zimbabwe is about 25
percent to 30 percent. Padian notes, "The bottom line,
universally is, If you cannot negotiate what you are doing with
your body, you will not be able to lead a healthy and long life."
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