The fallacy of the condom

Prospect Magazine

The fallacy of the condom

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Helen Epstein’s book is a vital exposition of the need to rescue the debate on HIV prevention in Africa from ideology

The Invisible Cure: Africa, the West and the Fight Against AIDS by Helen Epstein
(Viking, £9.99)

Almost 30 years into the biggest global infectious disease epidemic in history, we still don’t know what works practically in Aids prevention. Billions of dollars, pounds, yen and euros have been spent and we now have anti-retroviral therapies for people who have been diagnosed with Aids. But on prevention, we have very little in the armoury.

In early August, the 17th International Aids Conference is being held in Mexico City. If the 2006 Toronto conference is anything to go by, Mexico will attract as many as 30,000 delegates. Serious science and medicine will be interspersed with plenary sessions by star presenters from the worlds of science, politics, the arts and the UN: a mix of seriousness and razzmatazz akin to a US presidential convention.

A world away from this, in early 1995 I was

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Tony Barnett

Tony Barnett is ESRC professorial research fellow at the LSE 

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