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1621AIDS in Africa

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  • Bell, Elizabeth
    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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