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Norwegian Infectious Disease Specialists Have New Theory On HIV In Africa 118

Posted by samzenpus
from the snail-problem dept.
mdsolar (1045926) writes in about a Norwegian team who believe they have an explanation about the unique distribution of HIV in Africa. "While around the world a vast majority of AIDS victims are men, Africa has long been the glaring exception: Nearly 60 percent are women. And while there are many theories, no one has been able to prove one. In a modest public health clinic behind a gas station here in South Africa's rural KwaZulu/Natal Province, a team of Norwegian infectious disease specialists think they may have found a new explanation. It is far too soon to say whether they are right. But even skeptics say the explanation is biologically plausible. And if it is proved correct, a low-cost solution has the potential to prevent thousands of infections every year. The Norwegian team believes that African women are more vulnerable to H.I.V. because of a chronic, undiagnosed parasitic disease: genital schistosomiasis (pronounced shis-to-so-MY-a-sis), often nicknamed 'schisto.' The disease, also known as bilharzia and snail fever, is caused by parasitic worms picked up in infested river water. It is marked by fragile sores in the far reaches of the vaginal canal that may serve as entry points for H.I.V., the virus that causes AIDS. Dr. Eyrun F. Kjetland, who leads the Otimati team, says that it is more common than syphilis or herpes, which can also open the way for H.I.V."
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Norwegian Infectious Disease Specialists Have New Theory On HIV In Africa

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  • by ColdWetDog (752185) on Sunday May 11, 2014 @01:52PM (#46973697) Homepage

    Problem is that, according to the TFA, there are plenty of OTHER reasons for the high incidence of female AIDS:

    That rape, incest and domestic violence are rife in southern Africa, where the AIDS epidemic is worst. That syphilis and herpes are rampant. That impoverished, fatherless young women are forced to pay with sex for food, clothes, grades and even car rides.

    Still, it sounds like it's reasonable and important to treat the disease schistosmiasis [wikipedia.org] on the grounds that it has other chronic, serious issues. Do the longitudinal study to see if it brings down HIV infections. A potential two in one.

  • by carlhaagen (1021273) on Sunday May 11, 2014 @01:57PM (#46973731)
    A contributing factor is probably their outrageous belief that copulating with virgin girls "dispels" the HIV.
  • Re:Overpopulation (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sardaukar86 (850333) <camNO@SPAMtodaystlc.com> on Sunday May 11, 2014 @05:01PM (#46974675) Homepage

    My understanding is that short of enforced sterlisation or genocide, an improved standard of living and quality of life is the only sure way to curb population growth.

    If the world really wants to see Africa bootstrapped out of poverty, we'd be focusing our efforts on the aid groups that are already providing tools, techniques and technologies (too tautological?) that can enable self-sufficiency for African villages wherever possible.

    We send altogether too much aid in the form of food and goods which will always be a juicy target for the local factions.

  • Re:Overpopulation (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MaskedSlacker (911878) on Sunday May 11, 2014 @05:20PM (#46974831)

    The key to reducing birth rates is raising the opportunity cost of children. First world countries have falling birth rates because women have other opportunities and the cost of raising 3+ kids (in terms of hours not worked for pay as much as actual outlays for food, clothes, etc.) is very high.

    Letting $insert_disease_here maintain relatively high mortality rates ENCOURAGES birth rates because it increases poverty and so decreases the (opportunity) cost of having children.

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