Ideas to Action:

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The business side of AIDS

Post by Andy Jeninga

No one is going to say, "18 percent of your work force has got HIV, oh bad luck, have a tissue" -- this plant's got to run, there are trains waiting.These are the words of John Standish-White, the manager of South African mining giant Anglo American's Goedhoop mining facility. His words reflect the attitude among many managers in regions of the developing world ravaged by HIV/AIDS: the show must go on.

As large multi-national corporations expand further around the world in search of cheap labor, developed world ideologies are beginning to directly confront developing world problems, particularly HIV/AIDS. The August 5th edition of the Globe and Mail provides an excellent overview of HIV programs in the corporate world, with a focus on the ARV programs of Anglo American and Daimler Chrysler.

Knowledge = Better HIV Prevention

New findings from rigorous evaluations show some very encouraging results in HIV prevention, as Nancy Birdsall noted in yesterday's blog post: girls who are told that older men are more likely to be HIV- positive tend to avoid contact with them; when given free school uniforms, girls are more likely to stay in school and less likely to become pregnant; a curriculum that includes debates and essay-writing about preventing HIV increases condom use but not sexual activity.

Beyond ARVs

Post by Andy Jeninga*

Yesterday's New York Times Magazine contained an interesting article discussing the next step to fight AIDS in South Africa: battling cultural perceptions. When a Pill Is Not Enough makes clear early on that increased distribution of medicines and the such has been a great achievement, but that "it cannot penetrate what has become the most difficult terrain in AIDS work: the insides of people's heads." Through profiles of various relief organizations and individuals we find that results are no longer necessarily measured by tangible items but by the ability to effectively engage a community.

Uganda provides free ACTs for malaria

The Daily Monitor reports that the Ugandan government is now providing Novartis' artemisinin-based combination therapy, Coartem, free of charge in both public and private hospitals and clinics, going so far as to pass a law against selling the drug for profit. While I applaud the government's effort to increase access to such essential medicines among the poor, I can't help wondering how this will impact resistance to the drug, particularly in light of the frequent overdiagnosis of the disease.

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