Africa AIDS Ignorance
Dan Drezner and Preeti Aroon decry the woeful state of understanding of AIDS in Africa. Among the more astonishing examples is the president of Gambia’s claim to be able to personally cure the disease (along with asthma and diabetes) and the South African vice president — the former head of the country’s AIDS program, no less — telling his people that showering after sex virtually eliminates the risk. Moreover,
In Africa, many aren’t aware that condoms protect against HIV infection. Even if they are told, they also face anti-condom messages: Condoms are a conspiracy by whites to lower African birthrates; condoms are tainted with HIV to decrease the African population. On top of it all, traditional healers, tribal leaders, and the Catholic Church warn against using condoms. What is one to believe?
It’s astonishing that national leaders apparently know less about the disease than I did as a high school sophomore in 1982, when HIV was still being called HTLV-III and none of the current treatments were available.