Editorials Reflect on 20 Years of AIDS, Look to Future of Epidemic
Newspaper editorials reflecting on the 20th anniversary of the first report of HIV/AIDS in the media continue to appear across the country. Excerpts of some of these editorials are outlined below:
- Boston Globe: The Globe states, "The enormous numbers of sick and dying can sometimes obscure the truth -- that it is possible to contain AIDS, if not to cure it." The editorial suggests, "A key step toward prevention is HIV testing. In some countries HIV tests are not administered until a person is already showing symptoms of the disease -- too late for most treatments and far too late for the others that person may have infected." The Globe says, "The stigma and superstition that still accompany the disease must be lifted." The editorial also calls for a fight against "complacency and 'compassion fatigue'" and criticizes the refusal of some Massachusetts communities to approve needle-exchange programs (Boston Globe, 6/6).
- Houston Chronicle: The Chronicle warns, "AIDS might not be the death sentence for some that it once was, but living with the virus is no day at the beach. Engaging in high-risk sexual behavior exposes one to all the hazards of living with a long-term serious illness: expensive medical care, debilitating side effects from drug therapies and diminished quality of life." The Chronicle adds, "Those who cannot afford treatment put their health at the mercy of an overburdened public health system. And the ability to pay for drugs today -- which incidentally, are ineffective on some resistant virus strains -- does not guarantee the ability to pay down the road." The editorial concludes, "What is harder to understand today, 20 years and untold human devastation later, is why some people continue to play Russian roulette with this still-deadly virus" (Houston Chronicle, 6/6).
- Miami Herald: "Twenty years after the first reported cases, the war against AIDS -- this era's great plague -- is still being lost," the Herald states. "One wants to believe that HIV and AIDS can one day be vanquished. Yet the first steps toward that goal are still the most difficult: We must end the stigma of HIV/AIDS, face the reality that all are vulnerable and take responsibility for preventing its spread" (Miami Herald, 6/6).
- San Jose Mercury News: "Largely because of silence and shame, minority communities have become the new host for AIDS. Dramatic increases in AIDS rates among blacks command the spotlight today. But health experts warn that Latino cases are starting a disturbing climb," the editorial states. The editorial explains that "stigma in the black community toward gays, bisexuals and AIDS patients often deters them from being tested. Some suffer in silence to avoid the scorn. Others unwittingly infect mates -- including wives and girlfriends." The editorial concludes, "Faced with this epidemic, our minority communities must see AIDS as the killer that it is. Or prepare for massive human suffering" (San Jose Mercury News, 6/6).
- Syracuse Post-Standard: "While the AIDS pandemic runs riot in the developing world, where more costly medical therapies are not available, the "good news" in the United States has created its own monster: complacency," the Post-Standard states. A rise in HIV infections "doesn't have to happen. Painful years have provided clear lessons in what works, the editorial adds, endorsing "frank" sex education and needle-exchange programs (Syracuse Post-Standard, 6/6).
- Toronto Globe and Mail: "At first glance, any optimism [about HIV/AIDS] might seem wildly at odds with reality," the Globe and Mail states. However, Stephen Lewis, the newly appointed U.N. special envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa, "perceives glimmers of real light. One critical question is whether the rich countries of the world, Canada included, are willing to see it and act on it. They have every reason to do so." The paper adds, "[S]ince the spread of AIDS is inextricably linked to the poverty that underlies it, Canada's contribution to the battle should surely be increasing." However, the editorial notes that Canada does not finance any international AIDS research, and that the percentage of the country's GNP going toward foreign aid has decreased by about half. "Mr. Lewis, of whom Canada should be proud, believes that AIDS has evolved into a global crisis in which we all have a stake. If we agree, we should put our money where our mouth is," the editorial concludes (Toronto Globe and Mail, 6/7).