domingo, 22 de noviembre de 2009

Parar el SIDA

Más de 33 millones de personas viven con el virus del SIDA, ¿es posible pararlo? Según Robert Smith de la universidad de Otawa parece que no sabemos gastar el dinero adecuadamente.

Want to Stop AIDS? Spend Big

By Sara Coelho
ScienceNOW Daily News
18 November 2009

A group of researchers is proposing a radical approach to halt the HIV/AIDS epidemic: Go on a spending spree. Pouring more than $60 billion into treatment, massive prevention campaigns, and condom distribution over the next 5 years—instead of slowly doling out the money over 2 decades, as is currently planned—will effectively stop the spread of the disease, according to a new model.

More than 33 million people worldwide live with AIDS. The problem is especially pronounced in South Africa and Zimbabwe, where up to 28% of the population is infected with HIV. The World Health Organization's strategy to tackle the problem in developing countries focuses on "universal access" to HIV services. This includes treating infected individuals with antiretroviral drugs, counseling at-risk groups about safe sex, and mounting advertising campaigns that inform people about the dangers of the disease.

Governments, nongovernmental organizations, and charities spend about $9 billion a year on these efforts, even though they have much more at their disposal. "Current plans are to hold most of the money in reserve and spend it slowly," says infectious-disease modeler Robert Smith? of the University of Ottawa in Canada (the question mark is part of his name). "There is a tendency for people to be conservative when there is a lot of money at stake." The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, for example, has made the fight against HIV/AIDS its top priority, but it is spending only $3 billion a year, a small fraction of its total $60 billion endowment.

Instead, Smith? argues that if the goal is to halt the spread of the disease, then the quickest route would be to spend all of the money pledged by private donors, countries, and NGOs right now and outgun the epidemic before population growth and the number of new infections balloons out of control.

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