New York Times’ Coverage of HIV/AIDS Issues Draws Response from Field
Sunday's New York Times published a number of letters to the editor from people in the HIV/AIDS field, responding to the paper's coverage of recent news in that area. The following is a summary of the comments:
- Responding to an April 29 Times article on the funding needed to finance anti-AIDS programs in sub-Saharan Africa, Global AIDS Alliance Co-Directors Paul Zeitz and Chatinkha Nkhoma criticize a statement by a U.S. treasury official who was quoted as saying that Africans "lack a requisite 'concept of time' necessary for adhering to complex drug regimens." Zeitz and Nkhoma write, "This reflects a racist stereotyping that has no place in American policy," but add that "more serious" is the statement's implication that the United States "might respond to the challenges of combating AIDS by limiting financing" for anti-AIDS programs in developing nations. Zeitz and Nkhoma conclude, "The health infrastructure in Africa does need significant improvements, but this is all the more reason for the United States to contribute the billions of dollars necessary to combat HIV and AIDS" (Zeitz/Nkhoma, New York Times, 5/6).
- In response to a Times article on the efficacy of different anti-HIV efforts, Lucille Atkin, director of the Margaret Sanger Center International, the international arm of the Planned Parenthood of New York City, writes that preventive approaches should combine parenting and peer education that address sexuality and gender equality. She also advocates "widespread access to condoms," which allow people to "lead healthy and fulfilling lives." Atkin concludes that funding for anti-AIDS efforts "should be used to support creative initiatives that bring together secular and religious groups and nongovernment and government agencies in partnerships that are rooted in local communities and cultures" (Atkin, New York Times, 5/6).
- Ronald Brinn, a nongovernment representative at the United Nations, writes in response to an April 29 Times article, "As we draw closer to a coordinated and coherent plan for global AIDS relief, we are still denying the global crime and corruption that are driving and sustaining the world's disease pandemics" -- drugs and prostitution. Brinn notes that the drug and sex trades are "key pathogenic factors in the AIDS crisis and an outgrowth of political failure and economic greed." He concludes, "Confiscation of a small percentage of the trillion-dollar crime and corruption assets would go a long way to stop the spread of AIDS and pay for the needed health, education and social services that lie within our grasp" (Brinn, New York Times, 5/6).