Could DDT Help Fight AIDS In Africa?

mosquito-barbados-aids.jpg

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Matt Drudge (www.drudgereport.com) has a teaser up about a major development in understanding why and how Africa is the AIDS center of the universe…

Malaria parasite helps fuel the spread of the AIDS virus through Africa... Developing...

8 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Environment

8 responses to “Could DDT Help Fight AIDS In Africa?

  1. God Bless David

    The WHO ended its ban on DDT use a few months ago. They are now advocating DDT as one of the best and safest pesticides available…amazing what 30 years and rigourous scientific study can do to rehabilitate reputations!

    But…to your specific point, BFP, on whether DDT could help fight AIDS In Africa…are mosquitoes a vector for the spread of HIV? I don’t think so. As far as I’m aware HIV dies when ingested by mosquitoes, flies, ticks, fleas, etc…so while DDT may help with controlling the spread of diseases like malaria, I can’t see it doing much in the fight against HIV.

  2. titilayo

    WHO does not recommend DDT as “one of … the safest pesticides” available. It is however considered to be one of the most affordable and cost-effective pesticides for the control of malaria vectors, especially in tropical countries where malaria is endemic.

    Also, the WHO never banned DDT. Even the most recent treaty on the prohibition of chemicals like DDT acknowledges that DDT use (carefully controlled) is essential to control the spread of malaria in some areas of the world.

    I don’t think it’s that the scientific information about the dangers of DDT have changed in 30 years, and people suddenly think it’s safe. Rather, it’s that malaria is on the increase in a big way; it has reached drastic epidemic proportions, especially in Africa, and DDT, despite its dangers, is the best tool available to fight it. When you compare the risk of death/harm due to DDT and the risk of death/harm due to malaria, DDT is the lesser of two evils.

  3. God Bless David

    Thanks for the background, titilayo…I stand corrected on how DDT is perceived by the authorities.

    However, I still can’t see it (or any other pesticide) making a difference in the war on AIDS…HIV just does not survive outside of the human body long enough in sufficient amounts to be effectively transmitted by insect vectors.

  4. God Bless David

    Looks like I have to accept some more learning! Seems like there is indeed a link between the spread of malaria and the transmission efficiency of HIV by increasing its “viral-load” in the bloodstream if an infected person… check out this BBC report:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/6220072.stm

    You learn something new every day!

  5. God Bless David

    Looks like I have to accept some more learning! Seems like there is indeed a link between the spread of malaria and the transmission efficiency of HIV by increasing its “viral-load” in the bloodstream of an infected person… check out this BBC report:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/6220072.stm

    You learn something new every day!

  6. The title used for article posted by BFP tends to bring about some confusion. First look at the title gives the impression that mosquitoes themselves were spreading HIV. However, this isn’t the case if you read the article GBD posted…….It seems that: “When people with Aids contract malaria, it causes a surge of HIV virus in their blood, making them more likely to infect a partner”

    So in my opinion DDT isn’t really going to help the spread of AIDS. A person with AIDS, is still a person with AIDS even without being infected with malaria, and thus the threat of spreading it is always there.

  7. Environmentalist

    You are right Disposable Arts, of course mosquitos do not spread AIDS. You quote from the article that “when people with Aids contract malaria, it causes a surge of HIV virus in their blood, making them more likely to infect a partner”.

    The article also says that if you have malaria you are more suceptible to contracting AIDS.

    As the article says there is a deadly interpaly between these two scourges and a vicous circle where vulnerable people are further weakened.

    It is the malaria that helps to spread AIDS not mosquitos. Ant-malaria programs are important in their own right and now this empirical study provides evidence of its interpaly with AIDS and makes it doubly important to tackle this scourge.

  8. Yam P][e

    Hi Environmentalist, rightly said.

    DDT was banned because research indicated that traces were found in milk produced by cows and in women’s breast milk- which is obviously unhealthy. The ban was however lifted, after suficient research was carried out which proved to the WHO that DDT could be useful if used cautiously.

    The link made in the above mentioned articles is such, that DDT prevents malaria, which seemingly provides less of a framework for persons to be more susceptible to HIV.

    “In regions where both diseases are common, malaria may be responsible for almost 5 percent of HIV infections, and HIV may be behind 10 percent of malaria episodes. In Kisumu, that translated into 8,500 extra HIV infections and 980,000 extra malaria bouts over two decades”
    Abu-Raddad turned to Kisumu, Kenya.