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Economic implications of socio-cultural correlates of HIV/AIDS: an analysis of global data

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In formulating economic policy in health affairs where millions of people are deemed to be at risk, the evidence that informs such policy must be clear and unambiguous. For nearly 30 years there has been a prevailing consensus supporting the hypothesis that a retrovirus, Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), is the unique and exclusive cause of a pandemic of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS); that HIV spreads heterosexually; and that all who acquire it will inevitably and inexorably develop AIDS and eventually die. This article shows that whilst this hypothesis is widely and uncritically held the epidemiological data collected impartially and globally are consistent with other hypotheses where anomalies are fewer. There are substantial resource implications. The findings suggest that resources should, especially in African countries, be directed away from research into HIV and use of anti-retroviral drugs and vaccines into projects to improve basic living conditions in the areas of water quality, basic hygiene and nutrition, where recurrences of other lethal diseases overlap with HIV/AIDS.
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Keywords: Africa; Asia; H51; HIV/AIDS; I18; J18; prevention policy

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Education,Communication and Language Studies, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 7RU, UK 2: Emeritus Professor of Public Health, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK

Publication date: 2013-05-01

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