IN OTHER WORDS : Curbing AIDS
Drugs will never keep up with HIV-AIDS if there continue to be four million new infections every year worldwide. While researchers hope to develop a vaccine and a microbicide that women can use, those breakthroughs are years off.
For now, health agencies will have to rely on other tools to slow transmission of the disease. The ABC of AIDS prevention — Abstinence, Being faithful in marriage, and Condoms — is a sound, low-cost approach, but it has not pr-oven equal to the challenge.
The recent AIDS conference in Toronto put a spotlight on two new methods of prevention: adult male circumcision and the use of AIDS treatment drugs as a way to protect uninfected people at high risk of the disease, such as prostitutes. Both approaches need more funding from donors. Increase in circumcision as a prevention method has grown after a study last year in South Africa indicated that circumcised men were less likely to be infected by a partner than uncircumcised men. The AIDS drug tenofovir has shown promise.
Circumcision and tenofovir could create a false sense of security. Health educators will have to make it clear that neither method is foolproof. Donors will have to dig deeper to pay for these approaches. Policy-makers should give health officials the flexibility they need to keep this virus from spreading. — The Boston Globe