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Scarce Resources Threatening Progress Against AIDS In Sub-Saharan Africa

“With donor money to fight HIV and AIDS falling, spending in sub-Saharan Africa must be targeted to get the best results,” Bjorn Lomborg, director of the Copenhagen Consensus Center, writes in the Guardian’s “Poverty Matters” blog, noting, “Sub-Saharan Africa has 10 percent of the world’s population but is home to 70 percent of those living with HIV and AIDS.” He continues, “The problem is neither beaten nor going away: new infections continue to outpace the number of people put on treatment,” and writes, “One of the biggest impediments to the fight is the incorrect perception in developed nations that the epidemic is beaten. Thanks to donor fatigue and tougher economic conditions, many donor countries have reduced their contributions significantly.”

“This puts at risk recent progress, which has been dramatic across many areas: in the stunning expansion of treatment (although universal treatment remains out of reach), in the reduction of mother-to-child transmission, and in the identification of male circumcision as an effective prevention tool,” Lomborg writes, adding that “the scarcity of resources only puts even more emphasis on doing the most good with the money spent.” He highlights a new book that he edited, “RethinkHIV,” which “presents the results of the first comprehensive attempt to use cost-benefit analysis to help identify the best interventions to fight HIV across sub-Saharan Africa.” Lomborg discusses the book in detail and writes, “[T]he stakes are far too high for us not to ask the question: how can we do the most good with each pound spent, both at the national and international level?” (11/8).