After Attacks, AIDS Groups, Health Workers Adapting Political Messages, NPR’s ‘Morning Edition’ Reports
Although the recent terrorist attacks have left "little time" for discussion of AIDS issues, AIDS groups and global health workers are looking for ways to merge their interests with national concerns, NPR's "Morning Edition" reports. While many organizations have rescheduled or postponed press conferences, meetings or rallies out of sensitivity for the Sept. 11 losses, the National Association for People with AIDS is today holding its planned National Call to Commitment, a campaign of telephone calls to Congress to request more funding for HIV and AIDS. Director Terje Anderson said that going ahead with the event was "not an easy decision," Anderson said, "I think our biggest challenge right now is starting to think about how do you help people understand the continuing importance of an epidemic in light of what happened on Sept. 11. ... How do you do that in a way that doesn't feel disrespectful to what people are going through?" Although the "real high energy campaign" NAPWA had originally planned was "no longer appropriate," NAPWA and other AIDS organizations thought it was important for Congress, which has started setting funding levels for the new fiscal year, to hear from group members. Anderson said, "We're actually encouraging [callers] to talk about how much they appreciate the bipartisan tone that has emerged in Congress as a result of this attack. ... But fundamentally we're encouraging people to send a message that the need for support for HIV and AIDS in this country and around the world hasn't gone away."
'No Space Right Now'
Meanwhile, some global health workers are now "cautious" about making the case that the security of developed countries is linked to the health of underdeveloped nations, according to Nils Daulaire, president and CEO of the Global Health Council. Daulaire said, "The reality is that for those of us who deal with the policy, politics and public perception of these issues, there is no space right now for a discussion of those things until the public and our leaders have a chance to catch their breath." Instead, AIDS workers are "trying to reframe" the issue. Daulaire said, "When we see that we can mobilize overnight $40 billion to deal with a national tragedy, I think it draws attention to the fact that if we have the will, as a nation and as a society, we can do enormous things around the world. We can do the same thing in terms of rebuilding the world in terms of justice and hope that we are trying to do in New York City right now." The full report will be available online in Real Audio after noon ET (Wilson, "Morning Edition," NPR, 10/1).