AIDS in Africa a Self-Perpetuating Disease, New York Times Columnist Says
In Africa, HIV is not "just a virus," it is "also a self-replicating cycle of AIDS, poverty and hopelessness," New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof writes in his Times column. It is "easy" for people in the West to believe that "promiscuity" is the cause of Africa's AIDS problem, he writes, adding that one of the "great mysteries ... about AIDS in Africa" is "[w]hy do people not take precautions during sex even when they see friends and relatives dying." Even though "there's definitely something to" the notion that promiscuity contributes to the spread of HIV, "the reasons for reckless promiscuity go beyond hormones," Kristof says. According to Kristof, 30 million people in Africa have HIV/AIDS, and 58% of them are women. Further, 75% of African teenagers living with HIV are female, "largely because of an explosion in quasi prostitution between young girls and older men." He writes that part of the reason the disease continues to spread in Africa is that HIV "carries a mechanism for perpetuating itself: it first devastates a family financially and emotionally, then leaves adults unable to mind their children, and finally breeds crippling despair," concluding, "And so AIDS insinuates itself into the next generation" (Kristof, New York Times, 10/4).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.