Last time I checked, AIDS was a product of a virus called HIV. I don't think anyone in the developing world who's dying of AIDS is saying "Damn the Empire for giving me this disease!"

First of all, migration does not give you AIDS. The reason migration leads to the spread of AIDS is because migrant workers tend to have sex with multiple individuals, many of whom are prostitutes and are exposed to multiple individuals themselves. The solution to this problem is simple: keep your pants on, or at least use a condom.

But do people in the developing world get condoms? Yes, sometimes. Uganda has had a very effective prophylactic distribution program, from what I have read. In other countries, however, the leadership won't do this. Of course, this isn't just a third-world issue: the Roman Catholic Church is against the use of condoms as well.

AIDS is not a product of empire: its spread, however, is largely a product of ignorance. The ignorance may be a product of empire. The ignorance could just as easily be a product of ignorant governments in the South. Either way, I wouldn't blame the disease on anyone but the virus.

blessed: I'm glad that you responded, and at the risk of turning Everything into a BBS, I would like to summarize your response in six words: AIDS is a product of poverty. Which is FALSE. It's a product of poverty within the context of the developing world, but there are well-off people in the developed world getting it, too.

When you say that the top epidemiological predictor for HIV infection around the world is not a "risk behavior" but rather a low income level, it doesn't jive with reality. Poverty itself does not spread AIDS! Yes, poverty leads young women to prostitution, and it puts miners on the edge, and it creates immense social problems. If you're looking at this from a broad international standpoint, the numbers can lead you to think that poverty is the cause of AIDS. But in the end, the vast majority of individuals get AIDS by raw, unprotected sex (or, more tragically, when their parents do the same), and it is THEY who are the millions affected by the disease, not the poor.

You can give them all the free medicine you want, but the disease will not go away. This, I think, is the most overlooked point of the access to medicines debate you love to write about. The effects might be neutralized, but the cause of the disease's spread will still be there, and it might even be accelerated because of a reduction in the death rate. Then what do you do?

There is no easy answer, aside from investing millions into finding a cure, and hopefully even a vaccine. Until we have that, the only way to stop AIDS is by stopping its spread.