‘World War’ Against AIDS Needs More Money and Initiative, Nation Op-Ed Says
"Whether measured by numbers killed or nations wounded, by economies upended or families crushed, the AIDS pandemic is a deadlier global threat than that posed by terrorist groups," but U.S. lawmakers are not devoting as much money or attention to AIDS as they are to the "war on terrorism," Salih Booker, director of the advocacy group Africa Action, writes in a Nation op-ed. Booker states that the cost of fighting AIDS worldwide is "modest compared with the sums quickly appropriated" in response to the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. But "only a trickle of resources is reaching the AIDS battle fronts," he writes, adding that the United States can and should commit more funding and effort toward eradicating HIV/AIDS. HIV/AIDS, poverty, the debts of African nations and the "policies of international financial institutions" are all intertwined, but "these realities have not penetrated U.S. public discourse," Booker says. He adds that the U.S. government and international monetary institutions have not realized that "paying for global public health is an obligation for those who have the means to pay." He writes, "Strong U.S. leadership in funding the global war against AIDS would turn the tide, but Washington fails to appreciate the link between the spread of poverty, desperation and insecurity and the increase in such global threats as AIDS and terrorism." Booker says that the Sept. 11 attacks illustrated "the common vulnerability that Americans share with others on the planet." The attacks "should serve as an impetus to a greater sense of solidarity" but have failed to do so, he states. "The world war against AIDS, less visible but more urgent than the war against terrorism, has not even been joined," he concludes (Booker, Nation, 1/7-1/14).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.