Sixty-five percent of HIV positive people and 85% of AIDS-related deaths are in sub-Saharan Africa. However, a popular theory contends that the region has low drug adherence and that therefore flooding it with meds would spark drug-resistant strains, “spelling doom for the individual,” as one Harvard report concluded. Activists say this has given pharma an excuse for inaction. Now, a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, out last August, shows that 77% of sub-Saharan Africans adhere, while 55% of Americans do. “This study,” says David Bangsberg, associate professor of medicine at the University of California at San Francisco, “ends the debate as to whether poor people can adhere.” So why do Americans, with better care and drug access, lag? Bansberg says they often get meds when healthier and are more likely to quit when side effects appear. Substance abuse and depression also contribute in the U.S. Here’s to new role models.