The Atlantic

Why People Don't Take Lifesaving Medications

People are remarkably bad at getting on and sticking with drug regimens—even when those drugs stop AIDS.
Source: Finbarr O'Reilly / Reuters

DURBAN, South Africa—Ronald Louw was a human-rights lawyer and professor at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, the South African province that’s one of the most HIV-affected regions of the world, so he must have known about the dangers of the virus. In April 2005, he was taking care of his mother, who had been diagnosed with cancer, when he noticed he had a cough that would not go away. He went to a doctor, who treated him with antibiotics.

Four weeks later, he got even worse, fighting a fever, night sweats, and disorientation, as his friend and fellow activist Zackie Achmat in a journal article. It was only then that Louw finally went in for an HIV

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from The Atlantic

The Atlantic12 min read
The Politics of Dignity
A commitment to equal dignity can pull together a nation that Trump has devoted himself to dividing.
The Atlantic5 min read
Corporate Buzzwords Are How Workers Pretend to Be Adults
If there’s anything corporate America has a knack for, it’s inventing new, positive words that polish up old, negative ones. Silicon Valley has recast the chaotic-sounding “break things” and “disruption” as good things. An anxious cash grab is now a
The Atlantic5 min read
Why British Reality TV Is Starting to Play Nice
Conflict is drama—and high drama is the essence of reality television. That has been the accepted wisdom in Britain for two decades, since Big Brother cooped people up in a shared house and forbade them access to anything which might stop them gettin