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Economists say AIDS fight is top global challenge

Economists say AIDS fight is top global challenge

An international panel of economists meeting in Denmark last week said the most important issue facing the world is the fight against AIDS. The week-long Copenhagen Consensus Conference, organized by the Environmental Assessment Institute, used a cost-benefit analysis to create a list of global priorities for spending on international aid efforts and examined such issues as climate change, diseases, hunger, migration, sanitation, corruption, education, and financial stability. The panel concluded that programs to fight AIDS could prevent nearly 30 million new HIV infections by 2010. "Although costs are considerable, they are tiny in relation to what can be gained," the economists said in a statement. The group agreed with a paper presented by Anne Mills of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine that said spending $60 billion to promote condom use and distribute antiretroviral medications worldwide would ultimately save $3 trillion in health care costs and human productivity. The economists call for the immediate spending of $27 billion to fight AIDS, $12 billion to combat malnutrition, and $13 billion to fight malaria.

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