Memo to New York Times Copydesk: HIV Prevention Means *Not* Sharing Needles…

Maia Szalavitz

Here’s a whopper from today’s New York Times, in an article on how the world is failing at HIV prevention by failing to use measures to push behavioral change:

Dr. Adeeba Kamarulzaman of Malaysia said that outside Africa, about 30 percent of H.I.V. infections were among intravenous drug users. But because of stigma and a lack of resources, the world is failing to provide measures like methadone and needle sharing that can help such people.

Somehow, we doubt Dr. Kamarulzaman meant that H.I.V. positive Africans should share needles, and as this is paraphrase and not direct quotation, there is no reason not to correct what is, from a medical perspective, an example of misspeaking. So we are left with the irony that a doggedly literal-minded copy desk has managed to give really bad, and possibly fatal, advice in an article supposedly about the failure to advise people how to avoid contracting H.I.V…

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