A Deadly Mismatch? The Problem of HIV/AIDS in Research and Policy
According to research, HIV/AIDS is not a disease among others but displays a number of specific characteristics. To begin with, it is primarily a sexually transmitted disease and hence involves a large number of taboos compared to many other diseases. In addition, the incubation period is extremely long compared to most other diseases. Furthermore, protection from HIV/AIDS demands sacrifices in the form of behavior changes within the (very) private sphere that not only involves material, but also non-material, costs. Since HIV/AIDS differs from other diseases in these regards, the combating of the disease demands a different approach compared to, for example, the combating of Malaria and Tuberculosis. In this paper, we investigate whether these insights have penetrated the international donor community. Every year, billions of dollars are disbursed to fight HIV/AIDS. Yet, the progress has been slow and the disease continues to spread. By reviewing contemporary international HIV/AIDS policy, this paper tests if the lack of success in the fight against HIV/AIDS can potentially be explained by the misconceptualization of the disease on behalf of donors.
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