All of these factors have been heightened by globalization, the process through which ideas, resources, people, and trade increasingly operate in a worldwide rather than local framework. The erosion of cultural traditions in Asia, Africa, and Latin America reflects, among other things, the increasingly global spread of Western ideas by tourists, the mass media, businesspeople, and nongovernmental organizations such as the United Nations and the International Monetary Fund. Similarly, environmen- tal changes that encourage disease partly stem from actions taken by Western-based industries and corporations, which now find it easy to operate internationally be- cause of various international trade agreements. In addition, the globalization of business investment and tourism has globalized disease simply by increasing the number of people traveling from one region to another.
Finally, the rise in infectious disease reflects political decisions as well as bi- ological realities. For example, providing clean needles to those who use illegal drugs is a proven way of controlling the spread of HIV/AIDS and does not seem to lead to greater use of drugs. Yet only in 2016 did the United States end a federal ban on funding needle-exchange programs. Similarly, the Russian government’s policy of imprisoning large numbers of individuals in miserable conditions has led to a rapid increase in tuberculosis in prisons and then in society at large whenever prisoners are released