Income inequality, neo-liberalism, and AIDS.

[Many women in Mozambique] — farmers, market traders, housewives, and so on — form steady, sometimes clandestine relationships with relatively wealthy men in the hope that it will bring them some material benefit, the occasional chicken perhaps, school fees for the children, or favourable deals for a few cabbages. […] These people are so poor, in other words, that sex has become part of their economy. In some cases, it’s practically the only currency they have. (101)

AIDS has been described as a disease of poverty, but it might be more accurate to describe it as a disease of inequality, which settles along the ever-deepening chasm between rich and poor. […] The poor themselves know that money is at the root of their AIDS problem. (101-102)

The World Bank itself admits that the inefficiency of the basic institutions that should serve the poor, including banks, pension funds, insurance companies, courts and real-estate transfer systems, are a major hindrance to economic development throughout the third world. Making those institutions work requires government oversight, and so does rebuilding Africa’s devastated economies. But donor policies emphasizing free trade and small government make regulation of such institutions more difficult. (102)

From: Epstein, Helen. The Invisible Cure: Why We Are Losing the Fight Against AIDS in Africa. New York: Picador, 2008. Print.