Thursday, April 6, 2006
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When is "a major health problem" good news?
When it's not as bad as a national catastrophe. Tyler Cowen links to a Washington Post story by Craig Timberg on how AIDS infection rates in most of Africa have been wildly overestimated:
Researchers said nearly two decades ago that this tiny country was part of an AIDS Belt stretching across the midsection of Africa, a place so infected with a new, incurable disease that, in the hardest-hit places, one in three working-age adults were already doomed to die of it.It should be stressed that HIV/AIDS infection rates on Southern Africa are alarmingly high.
That said, this is still unambiguously good news.
Yup...sounds like they decided promiscuous inner city prostitutes had the same HIV rate as rural women in stable monogamous/polygamous relationships...
Any AIDS researcher that I've come across will look at this and say "duh." The infection rates are calculated for particularly virulent subsections of the population (usually something like 15-50). Lots of organizations and reports then use this number as the "prevalence rate" when everyone who has looked at the data know it is more than half or so less than these reported numbers for the overall population. This is not new information. This issue was repeatedly stated in a number of books and articles I've read dating probably back to the late 90's. I know of several Batswana officials who are also quite aware of this. I think these people were just out of the loop.posted by: James Sams on 04.06.06 at 01:01 PM [permalink]
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