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E. Does Third-World Belt-Tightening Lead to AIDS?

Narrator: This is Science Today. Researcher Peter Lurie of the University of California, San Francisco says the World Bank is contributing to the spread of AIDS. Among other reasons: when the bank loans money to a developing country, it often requires that that country institute an austerity program.

Lurie: That includes decreases in spending by the government, including on health care. And the result of that, in part, has been the re-use of syringes, with potential resulting HIV infection in the hospital, and less money around to treat either the people who have become infected or to prevent HIV infection from occurring in the first place.

Narrator: Also, many countries are forced to charge fees in formerly free public health clinics. Which means, says Lurie, that fewer people come to the clinics and fewer get treated for other sexually transmitted diseases.

Lurie: And sexually transmitted diseases are known to facilitate the transmission of HIV. So all of this becomes a rapidly tightening vicious circle with the citizens of developing countries caught in the middle.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Steve Tokar.