This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 12th (it came out in 2015), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

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Thursday, December 1, 2011

World AIDS Day

Today was celebrated as World AIDS Day as part of the ongoing effort to keep the world's attention on this devastating disease that has killed tens of millions of people. Bono, the lead singer of U2 and a strong advocate of treating AIDS victims, had a very good and optimistic Op-Ed piece in today's New York Times. He focused on the need to get costly anti-retroviral drugs to people who cannot afford them. Dr. Rajiv Shah, Administrator of USAID, published an Op-Ed piece on the Huffington Post with essentially the same themes as those of Bono. In particular, he reminded readers that new research, which I discussed here a few months ago, suggests that if people start taking anti-retroviral drugs immediately after they are infected, rather than waiting until their health declines, they are far less likely to transmit the disease to others. The rub, however, is the extremely high cost of these drugs. The best "medicine" is still prevention, and the best known prevention remains the very inexpensive condom. Thus, I was glad to see that the Associated Press's coverage of President Obama's public statement about World AIDS Day indicated that the use of condoms, in addition to the anti-retroviral drugs and male circumcision, remains a key to getting rid of the scourge of HIV/AIDS.

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