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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clear Thinking About Slowing the AIDS Epidemic in Africa
We have been overwhelmed by bad information about what causes AIDS to be so much more prevalent in the eastern and southern parts of Africa than elsewhere in the world. Even though more money than ever is being directed to stopping this epidemic, that money is hardly ever being spent for a helpful purpose. Helen Epstein carefully describes what she learned on site in...
Published on 21 July 2007 by Donald Mitchell

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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Still no cure
Working and living with HIV I read a lot of books on the subject. This book focuses on the problems faced in tackling the pandemic on a global scale, then concentrating on the issues that Africa experience and the failings of governments in handling the situation well. Honest and interesting book, but heavy reading at times and on a similar theme to Elizabeth Pisani's...
Published on 19 Feb 2009 by Mr. Michael Kay


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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clear Thinking About Slowing the AIDS Epidemic in Africa, 21 July 2007
By 
Donald Mitchell "Jesus Loves You!" (Thanks for Providing My Reviews over 124,000 Helpful Votes Globally) - See all my reviews
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We have been overwhelmed by bad information about what causes AIDS to be so much more prevalent in the eastern and southern parts of Africa than elsewhere in the world. Even though more money than ever is being directed to stopping this epidemic, that money is hardly ever being spent for a helpful purpose. Helen Epstein carefully describes what she learned on site in Africa about what the primary problems really are and how best to deal with those problems . . . rather than the problems that politicians and NGOs want to address. Millions of lives are at stake: Please read what Ms. Epstein has to say and share what you learn with others.

So what's different about people in eastern and southern Africa that makes AIDS so much larger a risk there?

1. Men are much less likely to be circumcised. Circumcion cuts infection risk dramatically.

2. Although the people in that part of the world have no more (and often fewer) sexual partners over a life time, these people are more likely to be active with more than one sexual partner at a time. That habit causes those who become infected to spread the disease much faster and further.

What can be done?

Uganda (once the area most affected by AIDS) provides the answer: Make sure everyone knows that AIDS risk is there for everyone who is a drug user and shares needles, or has sex with anyone who has more than one partner without using a condom. The public in general, and politicians as well, like to paint AIDS as being a problem limited to homosexuals, sex workers, and promiscuous people. But in places like eastern and southern Africa, those who monogamous can be almost equally at risk. In fact, Uganda doesn't use these good policies any more ("No Grazing") because fighting AIDS has gone from being a local activity to being a national policy.

Ms. Epstein reports in detail how local initiatives to get the correct information out can make a big difference (saving an estimated one million lives in Uganda). National and international initiatives seem to waste almost all of the money (as she points out in several examples).

By not paying attention to what works and what doesn't, country leaders and international NGO leaders run the risk of making everyone feel like everything is being done . . . when the wrong things are being done. As a result, millions will die.

It's a sad story of how everyone wants to help, but they see the problem as being like the nail in the eye of a carpenter. You hit the nail to solve the problem. Drug companies want to develop vaccines. Condom makers want to sell condoms. Churches want to preach sexual abstinence. Politicians want to ignore the frequency of rape, casual sex, and cheating among married people. Individuals want to believe they are safe because they know the people they have sex with. But most of these nails don't make much difference.

Let's start hitting the right nail!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Still no cure, 19 Feb 2009
By 
Mr. Michael Kay (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Invisible Cure: Africa, the West and the Fight Against AIDS (Paperback)
Working and living with HIV I read a lot of books on the subject. This book focuses on the problems faced in tackling the pandemic on a global scale, then concentrating on the issues that Africa experience and the failings of governments in handling the situation well. Honest and interesting book, but heavy reading at times and on a similar theme to Elizabeth Pisani's book "The Wisdom Of Whores" which I preferred as it is more inciteful and has a humour that lifts the subject.
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The Invisible Cure: Africa, the West and the Fight Against AIDS
The Invisible Cure: Africa, the West and the Fight Against AIDS by Helen Epstein (Paperback - 31 July 2008)
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