To the Editor:

Lara Devgan blames “lack of legal sophistication and rich white people” for the “neglect” of the AIDS crisis in African countries other than South Africa (“Yale-patented AIDS drug missing in rest of Africa,” 3/22). Never mind her innuendo that Bristol-Myers and Yale are racist; neither she nor I know that for sure. It is easier to refute her suggestion that “lack of legal sophistication” is a trifling matter. Relative to Ethopia, Uganda and indeed to most African nations, South Africa is a stable democracy. In South Africa humanitarian aid is reasonably sure to go to the people it is supposed to help, instead of into a warlord’s cache or into thin air.

Also because of its “legal sophistication,” South Africa is both able and inclined to educate its population. Education is essential for AIDS prevention and the complicated regimen of AIDS medication. This sort of belief prevails throughout Africa, and until it can be conquered, all the money and medication that the West can give away will not do the slightest bit of good.

Isaac Meyers ’01

March 22, 2001