Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Less sex & more condomes = stop to HIV

Yesterday UNAIDS declared: " the global AIDS epidemic continuous to grow... an estimated 40 millions are living with HIV... the number with HIV has increased from 37 millions in 2004.
But on the AIDS day in 2004 the message from UNAIDS was that "over 41 million people are living with HIV/AIDS"

Are UNAIDS lying? No, it is led by honest and good scientists, so how come? If you dig further into the data you find that the uncertainty range of UNAIDS estimates are wide: - somewhere between 32 to 44 millions lived with HIV in 2004 and today somewhere between 34 to 47 millions. So the true number may be slowly falling. A reasonable conclusion is that the number of HIV infected in the world remains the same over the last years. But telling that may put funding for much needed HIV/AIDS control at risk, so its better to conclude that the epidemic continuous to grow.

UNAIDS may be excused for drawing the scary conclusion that the epidemic is still increasing, because they simultaneously communicate that there are solid evidence that the epidemic is decreasing in more and more countries. The exclusive focus on treatment may have delayed the decrease. Best available assessment indicate that money is best used on scaling up prevention

But international support to prevention tends to focus on the moral of the donor rather than the effectiveness of the action. The present US administration likes to fund "less sex" and Sweden likes to fund "more condoms". Evidence from Zimbabwe tells that both works. Later sex debut and fewer partners may even be more important than more condom use