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Capsule Review

RethinkHIV: Smarter Ways to Invest in Ending HIV in Sub-Saharan Africa

In This Review

RethinkHIV: Smarter Ways to Invest in Ending HIV in Sub-Saharan Africa
RethinkHIV: Smarter Ways to Invest in Ending HIV in Sub-Saharan Africa
By Bjørn Lomborg
Cambridge University Press, 2012 385 pp. $39.95 Purchase

Lomborg believes that better policies can come only from dispassionate cost-benefit analysis—which is just what his organization, the Copenhagen Consensus Center, claims to produce. In this book, he tackles the HIV/AIDS crisis in Africa. Chapters by top experts present state-of-the-art research on prevention and treatment, public health systems, and vaccines. These thorough analyses will be of interest to anyone who cares about the state of the pandemic, but they are almost completely silent on the political and social dimensions of the crisis. Moreover, most of the contributors concede that a lack of quality data precludes the kind of cost-benefit analysis that Lomborg promotes, and they put forward few strong policy recommendations other than to call for more research. The book concludes with a brief and disappointing reaction to the preceding chapters by a group of contributors Lomborg describes as “African civil society leaders,” which serves mostly to remind the reader of the unfortunate degree to which the fight against aids in Africa is conceived, funded, and directed from outside the continent.

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