On 1 December, shirts the world over will blossom into colour. The red ribbons sold for world AIDS day will raise money to combat HIV, and awareness of the cause will receive a welcome boost. On this day, as on every other, 16 000 people—the student population of a university—will become infected with HIV. Most of these people will be in the developing world—teachers whose illness will deprive a community of education, farmers whose families will lose their income, and parents whose children will lose their homes.
In a depressingly familiar scenario, these people will be denied the drugs that could prolong the time they are able to contribute to their communities. The reason is simple; antiretroviral drug regimens cost about $295 (£191; €305) per patient each year. The total bill is impossible for countries whose health spending is two or three times less than their debt repayments. Médicins Sans