Action not Politics 7 March 2003
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Anne Savage,

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Re: Action not Politics

Didier Fasson and colleagues are wrong. Their article will do nothing to bridge any gap, it will just be yet more evidence of the 'North'using the 'South' for useless research. To answer a few of the points:

Many people in the world, predominantly in Muslim countries, are desperately poor but do not have the same incidence of HIV. Health information has been available for years. In 1992 I was in the University of the Transkei at Umtata and the walls were covered with posters statiung 'AIDS is coming. Take precautions,' and giving details. The students took no notice.

Less concern about health and the future is partly a result of the belief system, whereby the spirit not only continues to exist after bodily death but also has an influence on the behaviour of those still alive. Concern about health is difficult to sustain in the face of indifference from the 'North'. Many Africans know that most of their illnesses can be easily cured. They turn up at hospitals in their hundreds only to find the doctor has left or the drugs run out.If even a fraction of the money spent on 'research'was used to fund essentials such as analgesics and first-line antibiotics we, in the 'North' might be able to help stem the time. Why not focus on the'social determinants' contributing to the rise of HIV in our own country, which has all the advantages of wealth, education and treatment?

Competing interests:   None declared