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Experts Respond To PLoS Editorial Comparing Chagas Disease To HIV/AIDS

“Chagas disease, a parasitic infection spread to humans by insects, is not the new HIV/AIDS of the Americas, according to infectious disease experts who called the comparison,” made in an editorial published in PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases last week, “‘unrealistic’ and ‘unfortunate,'” ABC News’ “Medical Unit” blog reports. “Rick Tarleton, president of the Chagas Disease Foundation, said the diseases have little in common beyond disproportionately affecting poor people,” the blog notes (Moisse, 6/1).

According to U.S. News & World Report, “the editorial’s author [Peter Hotez, founding editor of PLoS Neglected Tropical Disease], says he wrote the essay to cause a stir.” “I wrote it purposefully to have a provocative title. … I didn’t write this in any way to diminish the importance of HIV/AIDS,” says Hotez, the news service writes (Koebler, 6/1). “‘It’s difficult to say whether the type of attention this is generating is going to be good or bad for people with the disease,’ said Tarleton, describing how many people with Chagas disease face obstacles in getting care,” the ABC News blog adds (6/1).

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