Time, gentlemen, please 14 October 2003
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Mark Powlson,
Managing Editor, PJL
Bedford MK41 7DY

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Re: Time, gentlemen, please

Editor,

Might I respectfully suggest that this exchange on HIV, AIDS, and South Africa has delighted more general readers of bmj.com rapid responses for long enough since Fassin and Schneider's article appeared on 1 March 2003? Nine months have provided no resolution, and a quick review of all responses recorded to date (pity me, disinterested readers, for I have quickly scanned through the lot today) lead me sadly to the view that as many years are likely to pass before the main protagonists will be singing from the same hymnsheet - if ever.

I make this suggestion in no way intending to diminish the importance of the subject, nor to stifle the debate, nor to demean the participants, but to ask them to consider the more general purposes of bmj.com rapid responses, and the interests of its other readers, which to my mind are not best served by their exchanges in this forum. And if the protagonists cannot find another forum, or even set up their own, perhaps, Richard, it is time to say "Time, gentlemen, please; let us know when you have achieved agreement, but not before".

Yours sincerely

Competing interests: I read BMJ rapid responses. I have had no request from any party (such as the editors) to write this.