News / Africa

Rethinking HIV from an Economic Viewpoint

The RethinkHIV project gathered some of the world's top economists to consider which HIV/AIDS programs provide the best results for the money.
The RethinkHIV project gathered some of the world's top economists to consider which HIV/AIDS programs provide the best results for the money.
Joe DeCapua

Some of the world’s top economists have gotten together to take a new look at the HIV/AIDS epidemic and see whether money can be better spent. It’s called the RethinkHIV project and includes three Nobel Laureates.

The Copenhagen Consensus Center and the Rush Foundation sponsored the panel of experts, which presented its findings Wednesday in Washington to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

“It’s essentially a project to try to say, let’s spend money on HIV in the smartest possible way,” said Dr. Bjorn Lomborg, director of the Copenhagen Consensus Center. “What we’re trying to say with some of the world’s top researchers – where can you get the most bang for your extra buck doing something about HIV in sub-Saharan Africa?”

The panel released its recommendations at a time when countries are struggling to cope with a global recession. Many, such as the United States, are cutting spending.

“We have this idea that HIV is something we fixed. And it’s true in the rich world, but it’s certainly not true in the developing world, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, which has by far the most incidents of HIV,” said Lomborg.  “We have many, many good interventions where we can for very little money do a lot of good to tackle HIV.”

Why rethink HIV 30 years on?

The HIV/AIDS epidemic is now 30 years old and there have been recent advances in using antiretroviral drugs as a prevention measure. There’s also been more encouraging news about developing a vaccine, but that’s still believed to be many years away.

“We don’t actually have very good evidence for many of the things we’ve done in the past as to how much it costs compared to how many lives we save. And so what we tried to do was to get some of the world’s top economists in HIV, 31 of them in all, to look at what are the best policies. That is, where can you do the most good on HIV per dollar spent? And it’s in the rethink of the economics smartness, if you will, that we really have an edge here,” he said.

The panel’s picks

The panel of experts recommended that more money be spent on vaccine research, male circumcision programs and efforts to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV.

“They listened to all the experts tell them what are the best opportunities and then they rank all these opportunities,” Lomborg said. “And what they found was the very best thing you could do in the world is really to scale up the investment in vaccine funding.”

Current investment in vaccine research totals about $900 million.

“If we spend just a hundred million dollars more per year we could improve the time when it arrives by perhaps as much as two years. That would simply mean we could help eradicate or dramatically reduce the infection in just a couple of decades,” he said.

Lomborg said it’s important to understand the epidemic from a medical point of view.

“But what we add to the conversation is an economic viewpoint because it’s not enough to be able to treat and to heal or to avoid infections. You also need to look at what are the costs and benefits because some of the things we do are very costly sand only do a little good, whereas other things are very cheap and do an amazing amount of good.”

More information can be found at www.rethinkhiv.com.

You May Like

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Christmas Gains Popularity in Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid