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Study shows need for AIDS drugs in Africa

August 17, 2001 | Page 2

LONDON--Remember Andrew Natsios? The head of the U.S. Agency for International Development told a congressional committee that sending life-saving AIDS drugs to Africa was a waste--because Africans "don't know what Western time is."

"You have to take these drugs a certain number of hours each day, or they don't work," he said. "Many people in Africa have never seen a clock or a watch their entire lives."

Natsios' remarks were appallingly racist. And now one of the world's most respected medical journals has shown that he's ignorant about AIDS drugs, too.

Two articles in the latest issue of the Lancet say that people suffering from HIV-AIDS in poor countries can be safely and effectively treated with so-called "drug cocktail" therapies--and at a relatively low price.

One article describes a successful pilot program using cutting-edge AIDS drugs in the Haitian countryside--and concludes that if the program "can be implemented in the devastated central plateau of Haiti, it can be implemented anywhere."

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