Economist Profiles Fight Against AIDS in Botswana, Mozambique, South Africa
The Economist today profiles the nature of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the Southern African countries of Botswana, Mozambique and South Africa. In the region, HIV infection has become widespread largely due to a breakdown in traditional family structures, which was caused by a variety of factors including the legacy of apartheid and the migrant labor system. While Botswana currently has the highest HIV prevalence in the world, its political leadership, stability and relative prosperity have enabled it to begin to combat the disease. The country's commitment to fighting HIV/AIDS has allowed it to begin offering treatment last year through a partnership with drug maker Merck and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. However, in Mozambique, widespread poverty and a lack of political commitment has made the situation "infinitely bleaker," according to the Economist. A breakdown in family structure has destroyed traditional avenues of care. In South Africa, due to the legacy of apartheid, which "emasculat[ed] men ... and separat[ed] them from their wives," and President Thabo Mbeki's "bizarre views about AIDS," the country now has the largest number of AIDS cases in the world. The article concludes, "If AIDS is to be defeated, war must be waged against poverty, ignorance, stigmatization, violence and promiscuity. A start has been made. Far more remains to be done" (Economist, 5/9).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.