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The high rates come despite efforts in many communities to stem the HIV epidemic through educational programs, condom distribution, and treatment for such sexually transmitted diseases as gonorrhea and syphilis, which create genital sores and ulcers that make it easier for the virus to spread.
In most cases these programs have had little effect.
The picture in the rest of sub-Saharan Africa is nearly as dire.
AIDS has killed Zulu nurses in South Africa, Masai teachers in Tanzania, Kikuyu housewives in Kenya, Pygmy elders in Uganda.
In the United States, less than 1 percent of the population is infected; in Russia and India the figure hovers around 1 percent.
Even in Thailand, with its thriving sex and drug trades, the proportion of infected barely exceeds 2 percent.
By 1995 that proportion had reached one-third, and today it is roughly 40 percent.
In , Botswana’s second largest city, nearly half of all pregnant women in the main hospital test positive for HIV.
Vast and underpopulated, it is largely free of the teeming slums, war zones, and inner-city drug cultures that epidemiologists say are typical niches for the human immunodeficiency virus. Shortly after gaining its independence from Britain in 1966, large diamond reserves were discovered, and the economy has since grown faster—and for longer—than that of virtually any other nation in the world.Otherwise it would be irrelevant.”The idea that long-term simultaneous partnerships might increase the spread of HIV was first proposed by British epidemiologists Robert May and Charlotte Watts in 1992.But Morris had not seen their article when she set out for Uganda in 1993, and her mathematical tools were not up to the complicated task of modeling multiple long-term partnerships anyway.An added difficulty was that Morris would be asking Ugandans to answer intimate questions about their sexual behavior.So she replaced the impersonal language of standard questionnaires with a structured conversation.
The HIV rate was estimated to be 18 percent at the time, and here I was trying to explain how mathematical models were going to help.