Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

A More Rational And Scientific Approach To AIDS Is Needed, Says Expert

Date:
November 25, 2008
Source:
BMJ-British Medical Journal
Summary:
The Secretariat of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS has lost valuable ground by ignoring for years the contribution of long-term concurrent relationships to Africa's AIDS epidemic, claims an expert, ahead of World AIDS Day.

The Secretariat of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) has lost valuable ground by ignoring for years the contribution of long-term concurrent relationships to Africa's AIDS epidemic, claims an expert ahead of World AIDS Day on the British Medical Journal website.

UNAIDS may be "contributing to the mystification of AIDS in Africa by promoting a needlessly overcomplicated view of the epidemic", says Helen Epstein, an independent consultant on public health in developing countries.

She argues that long term, overlapping, or "concurrent" partnerships provide at least a partial explanation for the staggeringly high infection rates in the general population in some African countries, and calls for UNAIDS to reassess its handling of scientific data.

Epstein speculates that UNAIDS' tendency to emphasize only typical high risk behaviours such as casual sex and prostitution may have hindered prevention, promoted denial and stigma, and contributed to HIV associated domestic violence by implying that people with HIV are necessarily promiscuous.

In fact, African people do not seem to have more sexual partners than people in other countries, but they are more likely to have two or three long term "concurrent" partnerships at a time, and this creates a "virtual superhighway" for HIV.

Condom use is rare on this "superhighway" because long term relationships, even concurrent ones, are seldom perceived as risky. This may explain why reductions in sexual partners have been a crucial factor wherever infection rates have fallen in Africa, she says. For example, in Uganda, a 60% fall in casual partnerships coincided with a 70% fall in HIV prevalence during the 1990s. In addition, declines in HIV prevalence in the US gay community and Thailand were also accompanied by rapid declines in multiple partnerships.

According to Epstein, for years UNAIDS overlooked independent reports about the importance of partner reduction, and until 2006, did not mention long-term concurrency in its reports on sexual behaviour.

Concurrency does not imply a simple solution to the AIDS crisis in Africa, she says, but education about the "superhighway" could help motivate behavioural change, especially partner reduction, and should be integrated into all AIDS education programmes in Africa.

Epstein concludes by calling on the new UNAIDS director and its governing board to re-evaluate the agency's political and scientific roles, and suggests that scientific issues be addressed through a more open process of research and peer review, rather than by one, largely unregulated UN agency.

In a second feature, Bob Roehr examines how institutionalised homophobia and the criminalisation of homosexual activity are aiding the spread of HIV and hindering efforts to provide treatment and prevention among men who have sex with men. According to Dr Peter Piot, director of UNAIDS, homophobia is one of the top five obstacles to stopping the epidemic.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by BMJ-British Medical Journal. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

BMJ-British Medical Journal. "A More Rational And Scientific Approach To AIDS Is Needed, Says Expert." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 November 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081125203147.htm>.
BMJ-British Medical Journal. (2008, November 25). A More Rational And Scientific Approach To AIDS Is Needed, Says Expert. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081125203147.htm
BMJ-British Medical Journal. "A More Rational And Scientific Approach To AIDS Is Needed, Says Expert." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081125203147.htm (accessed September 20, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

AP (Sep. 19, 2014) A federal jury has convicted three people in connection with an outbreak of salmonella poisoning five years ago that sickened hundreds of people and was linked to a number of deaths. (Sept. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
How The 'Angelina Jolie Effect' Increased Cancer Screenings

How The 'Angelina Jolie Effect' Increased Cancer Screenings

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) Angelina's Jolie's decision to undergo a preventative mastectomy in 2013 inspired many women to seek early screenings for the disease. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Cost of Ebola

The Cost of Ebola

Reuters - Business Video Online (Sep. 18, 2014) As Sierra Leone prepares for a three-day "lockdown" in its latest bid to stem the spread of Ebola, Ciara Lee looks at the financial implications of fighting the largest ever outbreak of the disease. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins