Top Leaderboard, Site wide
Truthdig: Drilling Beneath the Headlines
July 22, 2017 Disclaimer: Please read.

Statements and opinions expressed in articles are those of the authors, not Truthdig. Truthdig takes no responsibility for such statements or opinions.

The Unwomanly Face of War
The Life of Caliph Washington

Truthdig Bazaar more items

Email this item Print this item

Stop Ignoring AIDS and Africa

Posted on Jun 4, 2007
AP Photo / Jerome Delay

Bongos, an 8-year-old HIV-positive boy, waits in a hallway at the Sparrow Rainbow Village medical clinic in Johannesburg, South Africa, in November 2005.

(Page 3)

Harris: We’re talking to Stephanie Nolen. She’s the Africa bureau chief for Toronto’s Globe and Mail, a fine paper. Let’s turn the page a little bit, because you make a good point about HIV/AIDS and Josh also makes a good point that we need to do some homework locally.  But let’s talk Darfur for a minute. Here we have a chance—in my mind, at least in my mind—to learn from the mistakes of Rwanda. We’ve lost almost half a million lives—2.5 million people, I believe, have been displaced by the tragedies going on in Darfur. Here we’re talking about genocide, we’re talking about people killing people, yet we haven’t done anything—again. Do you have any sentiments about that?

Nolen: Darfur is really complicated. I’ve been there a couple of times. I was in the first group of four journalists who went in when it all started in 2003.  Darfur is interesting for a couple of reasons. One, it’s been hard to intervene. The fact that it’s on the tip of the tongue of every kid walking to school is really progress because, let me tell you, there were some lonely years when nobody wanted to hear about it. But then you’re getting into messy issues of politics. Darfur’s hard because it’s a domestic Sudanese issue. The Sudanese government is incredibly skilled at playing politics and keeping people from getting involved. Short of outright invading, what exactly are you going to do to try and keep the peace there? Well, U.N. forces are a really good idea, but Sudan is selling all kinds of oil to China now, so China has made sure that the Security Council doesn’t act on Darfur. You know, you’re getting, inevitably, into oil and all kinds of international political allegiances, so it’s not quite as simple as people saying, “Wow! We’ve woken up to Darfur being a problem. Let’s do something!” There’s a lot of things standing in the way of a good intervention there.

And, you know, it’s also interesting to talk about Darfur because, yeah, there are probably 300, 350,000 dead there and a lot of people displaced, but it is in fact a far smaller conflict than the war in northern Uganda which has been going on for 21 years. You have four times as many people displaced in northern Uganda. You have four times as many people dead. Well, when did we last hear about that one, right? I mean, Darfur is suddenly sexy because George Clooney goes there and, meanwhile, the war in northern Uganda that relies almost entirely on child soldiers ... you don’t hear about that one.

Harris: Stephanie, why don’t we have troops on the ground facilitating the deployment of doctors and nurses that these people need to help solve this problem? We can put troops on the ground in Iraq, but we can’t put troops and National Guardsmen and women on the ground in Darfur, in sub-Saharan Africa to help them deal with these catastrophes. 


Square, Site wide, Desktop


Square, Site wide, Mobile
Nolen: Yeah, well, I would hope that Iraq was a lesson in not, maybe not being the best way to try and resolve a conflict.


Nolen: Note to self: “The Iraq model: Not so good.”

Harris: Not one to repeat, but you’ve got to wonder the motivation that exists in a government who is one thing in one situation and allows another to exist. ...

Nolen: Well, you know, I’ve done a lot of call-in radio lately where people call up and are yelling about the Bush administration letting people die, and here they are, spending all these billions of dollars in Iraq. Why don’t they do something in Africa? So I say to people, “Well, guess what?  Actually the $15-billion, five-year program to intervene for AIDS in Africa, that the Bush administration dreamed up, has been the single greatest response to the pandemic ever.” And then there’s kind of silence on the end of the phone, you know? 


Nolen: That one ... I guess because everybody’s so busy being pissed off about Iraq ... but what’s been done in Africa, the Bush response program to AIDS/HIV, has not had the same response. Although, again, they insisted on using brand-name drugs instead of generics, and thousands more people could’ve been treated with generics, and in Africa that’s seen as giving in to the pharmaceutical lobby and they insist on a ban on .... they won’t fund any program that says, that doesn’t outright condemn prostitution. Well, transactional sex, as it is called, sex maybe for money but maybe for school fees, maybe for food, all over Africa, is a huge driver in the epidemic. And all these African organizations say to me, “What’s up with the U.S. government? Why would they say to us, ‘You’ve got to condemn sex work? What’s up with that language? We’ve got a program here full of girls who sell sex so that they can pay to go to school. We’re not allowed to work with them if we’re going to get your U.S. dollars? That’s really, really screwed up.’  ” And so that domestic political agenda, whether it’s people’s desire for access to oil in Darfur, access to oil in Sudan that keeps us from intervening in Darfur, or whether it’s a nod to the pro-abstinence, anti-sex-work, anti-generic-drug model in the U.S. All of that stuff tends to muddy up foreign policy.

Scheer: Well, it’s a culture clash, right?  I mean that’s the way the U.S., the government’s based or the culture is based, right?  In this country, prostitution is illegal. 

Nolen: It’s illegal in all these countries, too, but you have AIDS organizations saying, “We’re not going ...  ” —they’re not just saying that it has to be illegal, which it does—they’re saying a group that’s going to get U.S. funds to distribute condoms or put AIDS programs in schools or care for sick people, has to sign a piece of paper condemning sex work.  And that’s like crazy moral language that just has no place in a place where people are selling sex to eat.

Harris: You make a very good point about the president.  And this is something we can’t place squarely on his shoulders.  Bush has given millions of dollars.  He started PEPFAR,  his emergency plan that should be his legacy.  Some think that plan will save more than 9 million lives.  But I’ve got to wonder, haven’t we learned from the mistakes of the Reagan administration, who solved many poor and poverty problems with money, just pouring money on the problem?  I don’t think this is a problem that money can solve.  I would say that it’s not necessarily up to President Bush to solve this crisis, but it’s up to us to look into ways that we can go about working on a solution together.  Don’t you think it’s more of a citizen issue, a world issue, something that we need to—remember “We Are The World”?  That kind of campaign, that kind of awareness that you talked about earlier, I think, is the solution.  We can’t depend on governments.  Clearly, governments have shown they can’t get this job done without the help of citizenry. 

Nolen: I guess what I was trying to do in the book was to say, I don’t think it’s up to me to come up with ... I don’t know those answers and I don’t think it should be my job to try and figure them out.  But I do know there are a whole lot of Africans living in the middle of this pandemic, and it’s like, the scale of it, I think, sometimes gets lost.  It’s the biggest disaster to hit humanity since the 1300s.  So it’s all about Africans living in the middle of this absolute maelstrom.  They have ideas about what the solutions are.  They have good ideas about what they need and they have good ideas about the kind of help they want, and they would just like people to be paying attention. 

Scheer: You’re talking about bringing people together.  What are the African countries willing to do to kind of help?  They’re willing to do anything, right?  What are they offering ... ?

Nolen: A lot of countries were quite slow to respond to HIV.  I think that that came in part out of a pretty understandable, stubborn response.  I remember when they first figured out here that HIV had originated in Africa and there were all those allegations about Africans having sex with monkeys,  and it was all that kind of crazy stuff. 

Scheer: There’s also dread, too.  A lot of people didn’t fund it because they thought it was just gay people.

Nolen: Yeah.  So there was this real response in Africa that said, “You and your racist allegations. We’re going to pretend that HIV isn’t here.”  And so they were slow.  And it’s about sex, right?  I mean, the conversation I had with Mandela ...  while he was president of South Africa, the infection rate in South Africa went from 3 or 4% of the population to 15 or 16%, on his watch.  And he spoke publicly about HIV maybe four times while he was in office.  And he said, “For me, as an [unintelligible] elder, it’s just not appropriate to talk about sex.”  And so you had lots of people who were reticent, who didn’t do what they should have for a long time, and that’s part of the reason it got as bad as it did.  But now I can tell you, everywhere that I travel, governments are incredibly, passionately engaged in mounting a response to this.  There are some countries with amazing, completely across the board, not just healthcare responses, but education responses and economic responses that they designed themselves, that they’re looking for the help, both the money and the people, to try and mount.  And so at this point there isn’t a single place where responding effectively to AIDS is not a top priority of the government.  And they just need a lot of different kinds of assistance to do that.

Harris: Well, Stephanie, continued good luck and good reporting.  You’ve done some great work in your time in Africa and around the world.  And we wish you the best here at Truthdig.

Nolen: Thank you so much.

Harris: So 28 million afflicted with AIDS in Africa.  You can make a difference.  We sit back a lot and wonder how we can make a change.  Be the leader you want other people to be.  For Josh Scheer, for Stephanie Nolen, the African bureau chief for the Toronto’s Globe and Mail, this is James Harris, and this is Truthdig.

1   2   3
Banner, End of Story, Desktop
Banner, End of Story, Mobile

Watch a selection of Wibbitz videos based on Truthdig stories:

Get a book from one of our contributors in the Truthdig Bazaar.

Related Entries

Get truth delivered to
your inbox every day.

New and Improved Comments

If you have trouble leaving a comment, review this help page. Still having problems? Let us know. If you find yourself moderated, take a moment to review our comment policy.

Join the conversation

Load Comments

By ardee, July 7, 2007 at 5:26 pm Link to this comment


You make several good points. Especially with reference to she who will be ignored, as sad a case of ignorance as Ive seen in a longish time online (back to the aarpanet days in fact). Some relish the anonymity of the online forum to spew that which would receive little support and much rejection if done in real time. She is undoubtedly among those ranks.

As to the origin of the Aids virus Ive seen little excepting the theory that it came from prostitutes having sexual congress with monkeys and then transmitting the virus to their clients who spread it further still.  We may never really know, but I just cannot get my mind around a manufactured virus, do we even have the technology? The slow spread and maturation of the disease makes it less than useful for military application which requires a faster acting symptomology to be effective. Is anyone doing non military work in the area of virus development?

I hope that you will remain here, we do need logical and rational folks to provide stimulating conversation and differing views and it would seem that you qualify admirably. See you out there,

PS she is certainly ignored…....

Report this

By Louise, July 7, 2007 at 11:13 am Link to this comment

Dear Ardee

Thank you, and I agree.
Sometimes people are so hungry for attention, or so uncomfortable with who they are, they actually set themselves up for others to attack them. In this case verbally.

Sometimes people post on comment sites just to rattle everybody. Sometimes just to destroy the points being made. Sometimes just to get everyone off the subject. And sometimes because they are shills.

A few responses pretty well lets you know what you are dealing with. In this case, I think a very angry and unhappy person. Of course we cant know why, so there’s nothing we can do ... except ignore him.

Which is what I intend to do, from now on.

We may be missing a lot of good comments and info because normal people who have no problem defending their position, or learning something new, don’t like being attacked just for attacks sake, so end up leaving the post.
I for one would like to see a few more opinions on the AIDS crisis, because I don’t know everything. [Who does?]

But expressing racism and bigotry doesn’t lead to any kind of meaningful comments.

When I posted, “I sometimes wonder if the disproportionate number of AIDS in Africans and Afro-Americans is because the “disease” was created in a test-tube with the intent of targeting the blacks.” I was hoping that might open a discussion on that subject.

There was a time when I would have thought such a thing was impossible, but there was also a time when I didn’t know what I know now. Thanks to the web, and independent media we have learned over the past few years just how capable our government and the drug manufacturers are of lying to us and using us and creating false evidence for the purpose of gaining money and control. So, I try to look seriously at as many so-called “conspiracy theories” as I can.

Does any “thinking” person out there know of such a thing being expressed as a possibility?
I would like to know.

P.S. Just ignore him/her.

Report this

By ardee, July 7, 2007 at 9:08 am Link to this comment

Welcome and I think you post with intelligence and perception.

As to debating with that fool it is a waste of time. She condemns herself and her politics all by herself and really needs no help doing so. Twice on this thread she has said goodbye and not left, self control issues?

Is she what she claims, well we all decide things for ourselves but, as for me, if she said the sky was blue and up Id go to a windowand look before believing such as she.

If you would trace her posts through the threads here you would find repeated and extreme examples of racism and ignorance, excellent reasons to avoid her as one would avoid a steaming pile in the paddock.

( yeah I know she is probably a he, but it really pisses her off when I use the female pronoun….petty of me I know)

Report this

By Louise, July 6, 2007 at 7:20 pm Link to this comment

Seems I struck a nerve again.
Sorry about that, Point Blank.

As far as male gays being the most promiscuous species on earth, I wouldn’t know. Apparently you know more about that subject than I do.

What is that fixation with gay men anyway?
I really don’t understand it.

Actually I’m color blind, but I do have a few prejudices.

I don’t like liars, gossips, thieves, murderers, baby rapers, kidnappers and criminal behavior in general. What color they are simply doesn’t matter. And, I don’t like troublemakers. 

Frankly my dear, I think it’s just plain pathetic the way you have tried to dominate the discussion about this very serious issue with your own silly self-important racism.

Maybe you need to think about therapy.
Just a thoughtful suggestion.

Report this

By Louise, July 6, 2007 at 5:43 pm Link to this comment


Do I detect a bit of racial prejudice there?

I have no idea whether or not AIDS was created in a test-tube for the purpose of targeting blacks.

Was it?
Have I struck a nerve?

As I stated, that’s another debate for another time.

I suspect what really ruffled your feathers was ...

“Of course that was before the study of DNA revealed we all have the same root DNA, which leads to the question, were Adam and Eve black?”

I don’t know the answer to that question either.

However, I just learned something about you I didn’t know before.
[Your secret is safe with me]

Always eager to learn.

Just re-read previous posts.
No secrets here ... been a few days you know.

By the way ... AIDS is killing a lot of people. Not a particularly stimulating thing to fight over.

With the possible exception of those white Supremist, KKK, pseudo nazi types. Seems they get off on fighting over anything.

Poor things, no self esteem I guess ...
Or maybe just easily stimulated.

Report this

By Louise, July 4, 2007 at 7:17 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“There but for the grace of God go I.”

Amazing how people who have never had their back to the wall judge and pontificate on those who have!

Having never found myself in the horrendous position of having to sell my body to feed my family, I cant even begin to imagine the desperation and hopelessness such a person might feel deep in their soul.

Not for drugs, not for sexual satisfaction, just to feed the family. What kind of a society gives a woman no other option?

By the way, I think there can be no sexual satisfaction in being forced to have sex with anyone who happens to come along. Kind of like having to fight over the rotting garbage in the dumpster, or starve.

I suspect given the choice, sitting at a table eating fresh food would be far more satisfying. Unfortunately that option does not exist for a lot of folks.

Prostitution is not a problem of women. This is a problem of men. If men were able to feel the same respect and affection for women they feel for themselves, prostitution as an industry would cease to exist. Women in need would have access to real work for decent pay and hungry children would be fed.

Sex for sex sake is the primary reason men, not women get AIDS.

Yes, we need to stop ignoring AIDS in Africa and do something besides pontificate. A good start would be to get Bush’s Department of Religion OUT of the business of treating the problem. Then we might do well to pay more attention to the problem of AIDS right here in the United States. Because in spite of what folks may want to believe, it’s here and growing.

In the US 47% of men with AIDS are men who have sex with men (MSM)
In the US 75% of women with AIDS are women who have heterosexual sex.
Injection drug use (IDU) accounts for 25% of AIDS transmission in both men and women.

This is not an attack on Gays. This is an attack on perversion. If the little women gets AIDS from the Ol’ man, there’s a good chance he’s cheating ... with another man. Like the daddy that rapes his little girl, that is perversion.

By the way, if the “war on drugs” was being properly waged how far would those numbers drop?
The war on drugs, like the war an terror is profit driven. We will never win either war. That’s not the plan!

I sometimes wonder if the disproportionate number of AIDS in Africans and Afro-Americans is because the “disease” was created in a test-tube with the intent of targeting the blacks. Of course that was before the study of DNA revealed we all have the same root DNA, which leads to the question, were Adam and Eve black?

But that’s another debate for another time.

Meanwhile, while perverts and do-gooders, men and officials label and judge ... the plague marches on.

Report this

By ardee, July 2, 2007 at 4:46 pm Link to this comment

I’ll say no more!

If only….....we would be soooo lucky!

Report this

By ardee, July 2, 2007 at 11:05 am Link to this comment


Your measured response to someone who posts:

Speaking of AIDS and color, with the exception of the gay crowd, WHO has the largest “population” of the AID virus in the USA, the Whites, the Mexicans, the Asians, OR the blacks? By the way, the way you and ‘informed’ take up for the blacks I gather you are either black sympathizers or a Sambo, or an Aunt Jamima.  Really doesn’t matter as, in my opinion, you both have a severe case of myopia!

...does you a service. Perhaps the ‘piece’ you referred to that she is missing is between the ears?

This is nowhere near the first racist reference this excretion has posted here. I begin to wonder why noone seems to care, perhaps, in the best light I can place upon it, noone else reads her crap…?

I have always believed that, when in the presence of such bigotry and stupidity, one must, as a good citizen and decent human being, speak out against such garbage.

Report this

By Maverick, July 2, 2007 at 8:03 am Link to this comment

I would just like to repeat my point as I think it relates directly to what Point Blank is saying, but I think he is missing a crucial piece.

Everyone in Africa is not educated and hasn’t been warned. Most of those who have been educated have either been misinformed or had options (contraception) condemned because of the evangelicals trying to “help.”

This relates directly to the example of the sex industry. If the young woman needed to support her family in that way, she could do so much safer if she had knowlege of and access to condoms.

People from the US that are over there, some with the best intentions, are helping to spread the disease.

Report this

By ardee, July 1, 2007 at 8:13 am Link to this comment

David Posts

Leaving aside the race thing, let’s just talk about AIDS itself.
Is AIDS in the United States the problem that it is Africa? No.  You say ‘they’ve been warned.’ And I think that holds some truth as far as developed countries are concerned, and is one of the reasons that it is not as big of a problem here.  Though I think it is cold and heartless to look at someone dying and say “I warned you, it’s your own fault, goodbye.”

Ardee responds:
As I no longer read the execrable posts of our resident racist imbecile I can only imagine the dialogue concerning black Africa and AIDS from her twisted and sad little brain.

But you comment upon the differences between AIDS here and in Africa and I would add a bit to that. If you think on the high profile HIV positive folks, like one prominent former basketballer, or those others able to afford the very expensive drugs required to curtail the growth of the virus into full blown AIDS, then ,yes, we have a major dichotomy between that awful disease here and there.

But if you look into the poorer areas of these United States, look at those whose “health care coverage” refuses to pay for the medicines, whose communities discourage the teaching of preventative methods, whose peoples are kept, as are the Africans, in ignorance and superstition, well then, not so very different, excepting the poverty there is much worse than it is here.

The root causes for the neglect of so many millions of victims of this scourge are superstition in the form of religion and an overall malaise in understanding that we are all together on this little blue ball and will rise or fall depending upon how quickly we learn and accept this fact.

Report this

By david, June 30, 2007 at 8:17 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Just wanted to point out a few things.
1.  Word of mouth is not trustworthy.  The real info may reach those who needs to hear it,but it would be mixed in with so much else that is hard to separate fiction from reality.
2. Not sure if you noticed this part of the article, but I just wanted to point it out:
“You know, I meet lots of young women who’ve been given information about HIV but who are selling sex down at truck stops because their parents have died, they’re raising their siblings and that’s the only option that they have. So, you know, they say, “Fine, we’ve been told about HIV in the safe-sex textbooks, but HIV might kill me in five years or 10 years and we’re all going to starve to death next week if I don’t do this.””
What do you say to a person like that?  You horny little girl, stop feeding your siblings?

Report this

By david, June 30, 2007 at 1:19 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Leaving aside the race thing, let’s just talk about AIDS itself.
Is AIDS in the United States the problem that it is Africa? No.  You say ‘they’ve been warned.’  And I think that holds some truth as far as developed countries are concerned, and is one of the reasons that it is not as big of a problem here.  Though I think it is cold and heartless to look at someone dying and say “I warned you, it’s your own fault, goodbye.”
But the main focus of this article is Africa, and I think/hope that you know that the western ad campaigns don’t make it quite as far there, and sometimes their own government will give conflicting advice.  This is where we need to focus to slow the spread of AIDS and help people who (as this article shows) don’t have the same choices you and I have.  We don’t have to choose between abstinence and education or abstinence and food, so I think it is very different.

Report this

By ardee, June 28, 2007 at 11:26 am Link to this comment

Thanks to Maverick for restoring a bit of sanity to this subject. While I realise that the rather objectionable opinions expressed below are shared by more than a few undereducated and prejudiced folks it is important to remember that these few are a vocal but small minority and are getting fewer with each passing generation. Thank goodness!@

Report this

By Maverick, June 28, 2007 at 10:13 am Link to this comment

This is a response to the comments stating that AIDS is a behavioral disease and therefore no sympathy is or should be felt for those infected through their own actions. From my limited understanding, most of the problem genuinely does come from lack of education. This is not helped and even compounded by the aforementioned evangelical programs that preach abstinance without the mention of condoms. I think the most progress can be made through educational programs aimed at children entering sexual maturity, and not fueled by political and or religious conversional tactics.

Report this

By mlevass, June 22, 2007 at 7:50 am Link to this comment

AIDS has been surpassed by “Global Warming” as the press’ favorite moneymaking headline topic.  So it is no surprise at the comparatively low number of comments as compared to the newspaper poster child.

A serious look at the figures or actual AIDS cases must be done.  The press has lost a lot of credibility due to their apparent activism.

In Africa, the majority (90%+) of health clinics that have been built/opened since 1998 were funded by AIDS funds from the WHO, US AIDS organizations and numerous good hearted charities.  These clinics are designated as AIDS clinics and their purpose is to treat those suffering from AIDS.  Unfortunately, even though well meant, the situation in the few remaining “normal” clinics was catastrophic.  Many could not continue to remain open due to not only lack of money/funding but also the majority of medical supplies was “diverted” to the AIDS clinics.

I have relatives that lived and worked in Africa for many years.  There were a number of AIDS clinics in their area but the closest “normal” clinic was more than 5 hours drive away.  If anyone needed immediate treatment, they went to the AIDS clinic.  The kind doctors never turned them away and treated their illness or condition as best as they could.  The only stipulation was that the doctors had to record them as HIV positive otherwise they would not receive the funding.  My uncle said that in his village of 2000 people, there were only 2 people who were actually “positive” but almost everyone sought medical advice/treatment from the “AIDS” clinic when needed because they had no transportation to make that 5 hour drive.  Are the numbers of actual AIDS/HIV cases in Africa accurate.  He says “no way”.  He says that Malaria is the worst killer and will continue to be.  He said even some who died of malaria were treated at the AIDS clinic and counted among the AIDS patients.

Are we getting the true picture of the situation in Africa? NO!

Report this

By ardee, June 14, 2007 at 10:53 am Link to this comment

As has been stated above (below actually) far too many will not read this, nor will they think on the devastation and inhumanity of not doing something, anything.

The cloddish commentary of the drunken sot Chris Hitchens garners over 300 comments while this article, posted two days earlier, gets a handful. This points to a real failing in our species, dontcha think?

Report this

By Andrea, June 11, 2007 at 3:45 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

What is so tragic about issues like AIDS, poverty and other diseases is that the bigger the problem seems the less people want to hear about it or care about it.  While it may seem like an impossible task to halt the spread of aids or end extreme poverty this isn’t actually the case.  One of the previous posts mentioned the Millennium Development Goals.  These are a crucial step to getting the word out that the fight against disease and poverty is a winnable one, which will help to end the ambivalence or conscious ignorance that most people maintain about the issues.

Report this

By Catherine, June 11, 2007 at 11:55 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The people of Africa need the international aid and attention to help them change the future of their continent. We need to eliminate extreme poverty and provide these people with the resources to be educated about AIDS and be able to survive with the help of basic resources. The U.N. Millennium Goals included reducing poverty by half by the year 2015, and we need to hold true to that promise! More than 1.2 billion people around the world live on less than $1 per day, and 33% of Africans suffer from malnutrition. We need to take action in Africa and eliminate these conditions so that lifestyles can be changed and AIDS can be fought from all fronts.

Report this

By nats41, June 7, 2007 at 9:29 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Whilst the spread of HIV/AIDS is aided by behavioral practices the reason its so rampant in africa isnt just because of African people’s behavior. When the Reagan administration had the chance to educate people about AIDS in the early 80’s he refused because he didnt care about black poor people.
Also its relatively easy for people in the western world to get access to condoms, ARVs and so on how do you expect poor peole who live on less than a $1 a day to afford these things???
Poverty and HIV are linked, its poverty that causes women to prostitute themselves, its poverty that leads to polygamy I could go on. if the problem of AIDS in africa would be solved it would require considering the connection between poverty and AIDS.
Its no secret that structural adjustment programs of World Bank & IMF have led to further impoverishment on the continent no wonder AIDS keeps pn getting worse and worse

Report this

By David, June 7, 2007 at 6:04 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Great read, and an important issue in the world.  I thought the part about needing to deal w/ underlying issues that cause people to trade sex for money or school needs to be dealt with as well as treatment/prevention of the disease in general, such as school fees and lack of food (19 billion a year could feed the hungry according to the Borgen Project).
@AIDS Activist I understand what you’re saying about having only one partner prevents the spread of the disease, but is that something you or I can change?  No, I think we should focus on those things that you can change… such as supporting candidates that are concerned, continuing the work that you are doing etc. 
According to the we only need 23 billion a year to stop the spread of AIDS and Malaria, I think that’s a worthwhile place to put our money.

Report this

By AIDS Activist, June 6, 2007 at 5:06 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

HIV/AIDS is a behavioral disease. Unless people in Africa change their behavior, AIDS will remain rampant. The same is true around the world. Medications prolong life and also have the potential of increasing the spread of the disease. What now must we do?
Some will say I’m a racist, and so on. I’m merely someone who has worked with this disease since its discovery in the 1980’s.

Report this

By Jeff Johnson, June 5, 2007 at 6:40 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This is a great article, and I intend to get and read Stephanie Nolen’s book.

My other feedback is that although Nolen may indeed be the last reporter assigned by a newspaper to cover this issue in Africa, she really isn’t the last reporter.  There are non-newspaper journalists covering this issue.  Two I know of are Stanford journalist Ruthanne Richter and photographer Karen Ande (  They—sometimes together and sometimes separately—documentthe plight of children orphaned by the HIV/AIDS pandemic, mainly in east Africa (Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda).  See for example:
- “The unhealthiest place on the planet for children”, Stanford Medicine Magazine, Spring 2006 (
- “Hope for AIDS Orphans”, San Francisco Chronicle, Nation and World section, 4 Dec. 2005. (
- “Lives of AIDS Orphans Revealed Frame by Frame”, San Francisco Chronicle, Friday section, 28 Jan. 2005. (
- “The Face of An Epidemic”, Palo Alto Weekly, 10 Dec. 2004. (
- “The Injustice of AIDS: Poor Africans Left to Die”, San Jose Mercury News, Op-Ed page, 1 Dec. 2004.

Report this

By Tony B., June 5, 2007 at 12:22 pm Link to this comment

Thank you Truthdig.  And thank you Stephanie!
“...the last Western journalist covering the AIDS beat in Africa…”.  That is beyond heart-breaking.  The LEAST we can do is buy your book…

Report this

By Informed, June 5, 2007 at 10:07 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Racist groups from the US are spreading AIDS in Africa under the guise of “help”. Don’t say they wouldn’t do it because they already did.  Remember the smallpox in the blankets?  Of course you don’t.

Report this
Right Top, Site wide - Care2
Right Skyscraper, Site Wide
Right Internal Skyscraper, Site wide