The WaPo has a distressing article about the problems facing people with AIDS in China, and the same problems of corruption and ignorance face African AIDS victims as well.

Government officials steal money that's intended for use in treating AIDS patients, and even when sick people are able to get medicine they are rarely able to stick with the strict regimen required for the drugs to be effective. AIDS "cocktails" often make their recipients very sick, particularly at first, and each dose needs to be taken at precise time intervals. Many illiterate rural patients don't understand the possible side-effects of the medicine and simply stop taking them when they start to feel worse. What may be even more shocking to many Americans is that the patients often don't have access to accurate time-keeping devices that would even make it possible for them to follow their doctors' instructions.

The AIDS epidemic facing third world nations has not been caused by greedy drug companies, but rather by the corruption of their own governments, and the failure of their own economies. AIDS is just one symptom of even several larger, more fundamental problems that will need to be addressed before any quantity of medical care will prove sufficient to stem the tide. They need free markets and free governments, and they need to break free of the stifling mysticism that dominates their worldview.



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