AIDS IN AFRICA: Changing Men’s Behavior Only Way to Stop Epidemic
"The only way to stop the AIDS epidemic in Africa is for African men to change their behavior," George Washington University's Amitai Etzioni argues in a USA Today op-ed. Offering a blueprint for halting the spread of AIDS in Africa, he claims that men must stop "resorting to prostitutes, abstain from intercourse when young and remain monogamous later." He notes that in nations -- such as Uganda and Senegal -- that have advocated behavioral changes, infection rates have "dropped drastically." While Etzioni admits the difficulty in changing culture, he argues, "nothing less will do," including providing medical aid and less expensive drugs. He writes, "Behavioral changes can save lives now, at very low cost." He also urges western officials to tell African leaders to stop blaming the West for not providing cheaper antiretroviral drugs and instead "kee[p] people from being infected in the first place." In addition, he advocates sending health officials to Africa to "help develop the messages and actions that will lead to needed behavioral changes." Etzioni warns that AIDS researchers have "medicalized" the disease rather than treating it as a "behavioral problem." Lamenting the millions of "unnecessary" AIDS-related deaths in Africa, he concludes, "Those who allow the interest in drugs to deflect attention away from fostering behavioral change should consider themselves accomplices in the HIV epidemic" (Etzioni, USA Today, 9/20).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.