At the International AIDS Society Conference in July, a session was devoted to preparing for success in the PrEP and microbicide trials. One talking head had this to say on getting people to buy into and utilize prevention approaches that are only partially effective.
Nonetheless, Francois Venter maintained, it was going to be an extremely hard job persuading funders to pay for approaches with only partial efficacy. It’s not just about whether these interventions will work and can be promoted ethically; can cash-strapped health systems pay for them?
Of course, this was no problem when circumcision came along as the new thing to spend donor funds on. In fact, the problem has turned out to be that countries, individuals, AND donors who have adopted the approach now think they are more protected than they actually are from acquiring HIV. Why aren’t the policy wonks talking about misperceptions among those who jump in with both feet?
Again, new methods of prevention may be welcome and useful, but they are not needed except in the most god-forsaken pockets of the epidemic. Like some unprepared lottery winner, enough never feels sufficient. We have to keep acquiring in order to feel we are progressing. Such is the corrosive effect of misallocated resources.