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August 31, 2007

Very Political Science

American epidemiologist James Chin’s new book The AIDS Pandemic accuses UNAIDS of dramatizing the epidemic for political and financial gain.

Chin cites an alleged inflation of India’s estimated infection rate as an example of how UNAIDS bent scientific data to benefit their political and financial agenda. UNAIDS claimed the national HIV infection rate in India to be .9 percent; it has since been proven to be .36 percent.

Another author and AIDS researcher, Helen Epstein, joins Chin in criticizing the organization’s handling of the epidemic after having studied AIDS in Africa for several years. In her book The Invisible Cure, Epstein claims that the organization ignored certain sexual patterns (like the propensity to have multiple sex partners), choosing to focus instead on prevention tactics—such as condoms and abstinence—that have proven less effective at fighting the spread of AIDS in people already involved with multiple partners, in order to appeal to both liberals and conservatives.

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