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September 14, 1994

Human Rights as Critical as Condoms Against HIV

JAMA. 1994;272(10):758. doi:10.1001/jama.1994.03520100022007

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GETTING A HANDLE on the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) pandemic is going to require more than traditional public health efforts.

Condoms, clinics, educational brochures, and blood supply protection programs are "a Band-Aid over a deep wound," says Jonathan Mann, MD, director of the International AIDS Center at Harvard School of Public Health.

While useful and necessary, such measures are not enough. They "fail to address directly or adequately take into account the societal dimension of vulnerability to HIV," says Mann, who spoke at the 10th International Conference on AIDS in Yokohama, Japan.

While such assertions have been made before, they are now bolstered by hard epidemiologic facts. The total number of HIV infections worldwide increased from 14 million to 17 million in the past year, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The global AIDS strategy developed 10 years ago is proving to be ineffective and has become "a source

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