Saturday, November 25, 2006

Our new book on GLOBAL HEALTH is out!!

Is it possible to write a book on the health of all 6.5 billion persons living on the globe? Well we did it and now it is on sale from Monday 27/11 2006. We are six authors, but it was Ann Lindstrand who got it together and Birgitta Rubensson that brought it to print. Hundreds of students read and commented various versions.

We wrote it for those that in a short text want to learn:
-how the health of the world's population has changed over time;
-how the main determinants of health varied with time and place;
-how health can be measured;
about the causes of the main diseases in the world;
-what health care that exist around the world.

Our book is a summary of the works by greater scholars on global health. The pros with our book are the overviews; the cons are the simplifications and errors that are a consequence of our broad ambitions.

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