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October 07, 2003

Meaningful Statistics

Try these statistics on for size. In South Africa, a nation of around 4.7 million people:

  1. About 20% of the members of South Africa's military are HIV positive.
  2. About 11% of the population of South Africa is HIV positive.
  3. "[A]n estimated 600 to 1,000 dying from the disease, and related complications, each day."

With, at the low end, 219,000 people dying in South Africa alone from health problems directly related to AIDs, there can be no denying the terrible toll. The drain of lives is a drag on economic and social development, on a pragmatic level, and a tragedy on a personal level.

For anyone who would doubt that the US has a vested interest in helping African nations stop the AIDs epidemic, remember that terrorists generally make their homes in the failed nations of the world.

Read the story.

Posted by zombyboy at October 7, 2003 11:46 PM

Ummm,Zombyboy? South Africa has 43 million people, plus 2 to 5 million illegal immigrants.
Thats 2.2 million people dying, at the low end.

The cost of medicine is about $10 dollars a day to treat AIDS at present (before dietary requirements and treating complications). $3600 a year.

Using generic drugs (illegal under current US patent law) that might be lowered to around $2 a day, or $720 a year.

The cost of distribution, education and hospital care will easily equal this cost however. Say another $2. A Dietery suplement (fesh food and meat to help keep the system healthy) would have to be provided to at least half the infected people, otherwise the medecine would be useless. Say another $2 a day, or $1 split over all the people to be treated.

So the cost to the SA goverment to provide these people with medicine will be roughly $5 a day, call it $10 billion a year for everyone.

SA Budget revenues? $22.6 billion. Is America going to buy illegal drugs to the tune of $10 billion dollars a year for the next 10 years to extend the lives of just those people living with AIDS now, just in South Africa?

Posted by: Richard at October 14, 2003 02:20 AM

Ha. Redoing the math I see it will only cost 4 billion dollars a year at minimum to provide medicine to the 2.2 million people at $5 a day.

Unfortunately the whole calculation is based on the lowest imaginable cost, meaning it 'will' cost more. So the American AIDS grant of 15 billion 'can' provide South Africa with medicine for 3 years if it used to provide illegal drugs.

Posted by: Richard at October 14, 2003 02:30 AM

It absolutely will cost more--but, yes, I do want us to help. Help to me, though, isn't just the drugs, it's education and moving towards prevention as much as medication.

Help prevent the spread of the disease rather than keeping focus on the treatment of the disease. Help is also providing leadership--instead of letting other countries and NGOs define the assistance, let the US define it to a larger extent.

Posted by: zombyboy at October 14, 2003 09:23 AM
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