The Spectacle Blog

UN: AIDS Epidemic Overstated

By on 11.20.07 | 10:49AM

But, then, what's a few million between friends?

The most telling quote from the Post piece: "Some researchers…contend that persistent overestimates in the widely quoted U.N. reports have long skewed funding decisions and obscured potential lessons about how to slow the spread of HIV. Critics have also said that U.N. officials overstated the extent of the epidemic to help gather political and financial support for combating AIDS."

"There was a tendency toward alarmism, and that fit perhaps a certain fundraising agenda," said Helen Epstein, author of The Invisible Cure: Africa, the West, and the Fight Against AIDS. "I hope these new numbers will help refocus the response in a more pragmatic way."

Just how wrong was the UN? "The United Nations has cut its estimate of HIV cases in India by more than half because of a[n alternate, non-UN] study completed this year."

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