We discuss and comment on the role agriculture will play in the containment of the CO2 problem and address protocols for terraforming the planet Earth.
A model farm template is imagined as the central methodology. A broad range of timely science news and other topics of interest are commented on.
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
AIDS Treatment Boosts African Economy
Perhaps it should have been
obvious, but eliminating a death sentence gives back hope and optimism for the
future and that leads directly to wealth accumulation.That it has become visible and dramatic has a
lot to do with the simple impact of retroviral therapy and its obvious
I know one individual who
was diagnosed at the age of sixty and lucked out.As each improvement came alone he caught the
wave in time to last to the next innovation.Today he is seventy five and is sporting a healthy immune system.He will die of old age and its normal deterioration.No one in the developed world faces even that
today because the proper application is well understood and side effects are
Thus we have general
application underway in Africa and this report
of the economic payback should encourage governments to be proactive.
And yes we now see the
light at the end of the tunnel in which this disease becomes extinct.
Newswise — Two teams of
researchers at UC San Diego and other U.S. and African universities and the
World Bank have documented significant spillover benefits of a drug therapy to
combat AIDS symptoms and a novel prevention strategy that focuses on girls in
Sub-Saharan Africa, an area with two-thirds of the world’s HIV infections.
A recently published
paper in Public Economics documents
a dramatic “Lazarus effect” in AIDS-affected households in rural Kenya
when infirmed members received anti-retroviral therapy (ART). The study found
that not only did the health of those treated improve, but the households also
began to accumulate livestock and other assets and they increased their
investments in the education of their children.
“Most successful AIDS
relief initiatives have been lopsided in their focus on anti-retroviral
therapy, but behavioral dimensions of the epidemic are equally significant,”
said Joshua Graff-Zivin, co-author of the study and associate professor of
economics at UC San Diego’s School of International Relations and Pacific
Studies (IR/PS). “Anti-retroviral therapy may be achieving much more
far-reaching impacts than just the medical benefits, and anti-retroviral
therapy may help the continent escape a much broader set of behavioral poverty
traps that would otherwise arise from stratospheric HIV-prevalence rates.”
The study was supported
by a partnership of the U.S.
Agency for International Development. Graff-Zivin worked with Harsha
Thirumurthy, assistant professor of health economics at the University of North
Carolina, and Markus Goldstein, a senior economist at the World Bank. The team
showed that when affected members of rural Kenyan households received the drug
therapy, a range of household investment indicators suddenly improved. In
addition, children’s nutritional status went up and their school attendance
increased more than 20 percent within six months after treatment was initiated
for the adult patient.
“This Lazarus effect,
whereby those who had expected a swift decline and death are granted a new
lease on life by treatment, suggests that without effective anti-retroviral
treatment, the epidemic may be having pervasive negative effects on people’s
willingness to think long-term and to invest for the future,” Graff-Zivin said.
“This study shows that effective treatment yields significant economic
dividends such as improved capital investment. Based on our latest field
research we also think anti-retroviral therapy enhances environmental stewardship
and a host of other positive effects as households switch from a sense of
hopelessness to planning for their long-term futures.”
In a separate study
conducted in the southern African nation of Malawi and recently published in
Health Economics, researchers found that providing small monthly cash payments
to girls significantly reduced sexual activity, teen pregnancy and marriage.
New results from a series of working papers report that the prevalence of HIV
and Herpes is also significantly reduced by the intervention. In order to
continue receiving the money as part of the study, the girls were required to
remain in school as part of a “conditional cash transfer” program.
positive results were measured:
* About 18 months after
the program began, HIV prevalence among the participating schoolgirls was 60
percent lower than the control group (1.2 percent vs. 3.0 percent).
* The prevalence of Herpes Simplex Virus type 2, the common cause of genital
herpes, was more than 75 percent lower among the girls participating in the
study compared to a control group (0.7 percent vs. 3.0 percent).
“This study was the
first rigorously estimated evidence that a behavioral intervention may have
meaningful effects on the trajectory of the HIV epidemic,” said Craig McIntosh,
a co-author of the study and associate professor of economics at IR/PS.
“Similar programs in Mexico, Brazil and Nicaragua have demonstrated efficacy in
improving school enrollment, learning or labor-market outcomes, but we
suspected that the conditional-cash-transfer approach could also have a strong
impact on the health of girls living in an epicenter of HIV infections.”
conditional-cash-transfer program virtually eliminated sexual relationships
between teen-age girls and men over 25. “This is very important because this
approach greatly reduces HIV transmission from an older demographic group to a
younger one, which could lead to the epidemic burning itself out,” McIntosh
said. “This study shows how the lives of girls can be improved, vulnerable
households can be protected, and spread of the HIV epidemic can be
The study was supported
by the Global Development Network and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
The research team included McIntosh; Sarah Baird, an assistant professor of
global health at George Washington University; Ephraim Chirwa, associate
professor of economics at the University of Malawi, and Berk Özler, an
economist with the World Bank.