AIDS is Bigger National Security Threat Than Anthrax, Columnist Says
AIDS is a "scourge that's more vicious" than anthrax -- a disease that has preoccupied the public in recent weeks -- and HIV, which has infected about 36 million people worldwide, presents a larger national security threat than anthrax, Orlando Sentinel columnist Myriam Marquez says. Although HIV infection rates have fallen in some populations, the disease threatens to destabilize governments and economies throughout the developing world, she states, noting that the virus is "spreading quickly" in India, Asia and parts of the former Soviet Union. According to Marquez, the United States currently spends about $2.2 billion on HIV/AIDS, and the Bush administration has proposed increasing spending to $2.5 billion, a "pittance" compared to the $15 billion "bai[l] out" recently given to the airline industry in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. "Isn't the AIDS scourge -- with its international security implications -- just as important as getting our economy back on track in this war against terrorism?" Marquez asks. "Forget anthrax. It's the really big A -- AIDS -- that warrants our attention," she concludes (Marquez, Orlando Sentinel, 11/11).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.