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Spending Too Much on AIDS?

Spending Too Much on AIDS?


Is the world spending too much money on HIV research and treatment programs at the detriment of other conditions and diseases that affect far more people? That's a question posed by some health experts in the journal The Lancet. Between $8 billion and $10 billion is spent globally on AIDS every year, more than 100 times the amount spent on clean water projects, according to the journal. Yet fewer than 40 million people worldwide are HIV-positive, compared with the more than 1 billion people who lack clean water and 2 billion who do not have adequate sanitation. More than a third of child deaths worldwide are due to inadequate food supplies or malnutrition, but spending on food programs is a fraction of that spent annually on AIDS. 'If we look at the data objectively, we are spending too much on AIDS,' says Malcolm Potts, an AIDS expert at the University of California, Berkeley. But other experts argue that cutting back on fighting HIV would be dangerous, particularly if it would force some HIV-positive people out of successful treatment programs. Instead, they say, the solution should be to boost the budget for all public health services. 'Let's not drag AIDS care and prevention down to the level of every other disease, but let's bring everything else up to the level of AIDS,' says Tom Coates, a professor of global AIDS research at the University of California, Los Angeles.

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