AIDS overestimates

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The New York Times reported yesterday that the UN’s agency on AIDS dramatically overestimated its count of current and new infections:

The agency, Unaids, will lower the number of people it believes are infected worldwide, to 33.2 million from the 39.5 million it estimated late last year.

Much of the difference comes from new reporting methods in some African countries and in India — an idea dovetailing with the work of economist Emily Oster. Oster’s 2007 TEDTalk takes a critical look at global AIDS figures — and how they drive the world’s approaches to stemming the disease.

On his blog, Emeka Okafor writes, “The AIDS industry should be called to account.” But these revised numbers, though lower than before, are still high. We must not lose our sense of urgency on AIDS in Africa and throughout the world.