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Prioritizing HIV/AIDS Prevention And Treatment

In his ForeignPolicy.com column, Charles Kenny, a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development and a Schwartz fellow at the New America Foundation, writes that despite an “abundance of tools to fight the global AIDS epidemic,” including male circumcision and treatment as prevention, “the breakthroughs don’t amount to a global reprieve.” The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria’s announcement it is postponing Round 11 grants, “on top of news that donor funding for HIV/AIDS leveled in 2009 and then declined 10 percent in 2010, should be a wake-up call to focus on cost-effective responses,” he writes.

“Doing that requires getting our balance of treatment and prevention right,” he continues. Kenny states “AIDS prevention is not only better than treatment, it is cheaper,” and concludes, “Without a lot of additional money — and that doesn’t look likely any time soon — each new person put on treatment takes resources that could be used to stop additional people getting infected in the first place, through programs like cash payments to girls who remain in school, for instance, or funding free adult male circumcision. It is an unquestionably grim choice to have to make, but prioritizing prevention is the best way to do the most good for the most people” (11/28).