Commentary & Opinion
Western Public Health Lobby Must Recognize Social Dimension of HIV in Africa
November 16, 2009
In a Dallas Morning News opinion piece, Travis Kavulla, a Phillips Foundation journalism fellow and former African history scholar at Cambridge, examines African beliefs of causation and their relation to HIV/AIDS. Kavulla writes, "Africa's AIDS crisis runs too deep and wide for a solution to be based solely on treatment. The ultimate goal is to prevent HIV's further transmission -- and that's squarely in the hands of the individual, informed by his cultural and religious beliefs. ... The public health lobby answers this question by saying, essentially, 'Start using condoms.' This is the narrow-minded response ... As long as this attitude persists, Western policy will remain discordant with the realm of cause and effect within which Africans are operating."
"The only lasting solution to AIDS in Africa will come through behavioral change," Kavulla writes, adding that the "Western public health lobby ... must stop imposing its own agenda on Africa. ... The sooner the donor community realizes this, and reorients its policies to fit African realities, the better" (11/13).
This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.