LETTER: Aids discovery is largely irrelevant

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From Mr James Deane

Sir: The discovery that a combination of therapies has been successful in treating people with Aids is exciting and encouraging (report, 26 September). It is largely irrelevant, however, to those with HIV and Aids in the developing world, where 90 per cent of all HIV infection is found.

The cost of treating one person for one year with the new combination of drugs is between pounds 3,000 and pounds 5,000. The annual per capita health budget of Malawi, for instance, where 10 per cent of the population is infected with HIV, is about pounds 3.

In developing countries, providing people with even the most basic drugs, such as aspirin, remains a problem. These countries need far more assistance to educate their publics and to establish health infrastructures, to help prevent the spread of Aids and provide care to those affected.

Sincerely

James Deane

Director, Aids Programme

Panos Institute

London N1

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