Priority of Health Education. 3 March 2003
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Gabor A. Balint,
professor of clinical pharmacology
Univ.Szeged Med.School.H-6701 Szeged,GPOBox 427. Hungary,
New Clinics,(Dept.of Psychiatry)Lab.Cli.Pharm/

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Re: Priority of Health Education.

Dear Editor,

Drs. Fassin & Schneider state in their article (BMJ.326;495, 2003,)that previous social segregation (apartheid) between Caucasians and Africans in South Africa is translated nowadays as a cause of the different HIV sero- prevalence between the mentioned groups.I am definitely NOT a racist - I have spent more than 6 years in Africa as an expat - BUT their tenet seems to be (from medical point of view) definitely faulty. According to my humble opinion education and social traditions, etc. (e.g. extramarital sex)have a far greater role in this very unfortunate fact.

Therefore our duty is clear- vigorous health education. (See the result in Uganda, please!) Racism is a political and ideological "principle", nothing to do with it in the public health.(But of course we cannot approve it!)

Sincerely yours, G.A.B.

Competing interests:   None declared