From Celia W. Dugger on A1 of today’s New York Times:

A new study by Harvard researchers estimates that the South African government would have prevented the premature deaths of 365,000 people earlier this decade if it had provided antiretroviral drugs to AIDS patients and widely administered drugs to help prevent pregnant women from infecting their babies.

The Harvard study concluded that the policies grew out of President Thabo Mbeki’s denial of the well-established scientific consensus about the viral cause of AIDS and the essential role of antiretroviral drugs in treating it.


Epidemiologists and biostatisticians who reviewed the study for The New York Times said the researchers had based their estimates on conservative assumptions and used a sound methodology.


The new government is now trying to hasten the expansion of antiretroviral treatments. The task is urgent. South Africa today is home to 5.7 million people who are H.I.V.-positive — more than any other nation, almost one in five adults. More than 900 people a day die here as a result of AIDS, the United Nations estimates.

Also on the Times’s A1 today: a mother in Florida, as with “millions of mothers across the nation” this year, will “go without the designer jeans she covets this season” in order to buy a garage-full of toys for her young daughter.

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Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.