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For every 100 people living with HIV/AIDS currently on anti-retroviral medications, there are 250 new infections, according to UNAIDS, the UN agency. This statistic was the crux of a piece from the Times last week that headlined the failure to control AIDS infections in East African countries such as Uganda, where infection rates are the highest in the world.

The joint efforts of donors and pharmaceutical companies to make generic anti-retrovirals available en masse created a great deal of hope in the early 00’s that infections rates might decrease for the following generation. But more limited investments in prevention have failed to keep the number of infected at stable levels. Now, donor ability to maintain, let alone increase, funding for anti-retrovirals is threatened as foundations and individual donors continue to feel the repercussions of the financial crisis. With more people getting sick every day, clinics and hospitals are forced to turn away people in desperate need.

There can be no silver lining for suffering of such immense scale. We can recognize, though, that the approaches of the past have not worked. In the absence of the dreamed-for technological prevention solution (vaccines, for examples), behavioral prevention needs more funding and focus.

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