American Leadership, Generosity Key to Winning Fight Against HIV/AIDS, Op-Ed Says
"Africa's AIDS crisis can be solved. But it will take determination on the part of African leaders, leadership by the U.S. government and generosity by the American people on the scale demonstrated on Sept. 11," Richard Stearns, president of the Christian humanitarian organization World Vision, writes in a Seattle Times op-ed. Former President Jimmy Carter and Bill Gates Sr. last week traveled to Africa to "demonstrate [their] commitment" to battling the HIV/AIDS pandemic, the "greatest humanitarian crisis in the world." But will their actions "move Americans to respond with compassion for the widows, orphans and other survivors of the 8,000 people who die of AIDS each day?" Stearns asks. He notes that although more than 70% of Americans donated money to help those affected by the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, a Barna Research Group poll conducted last year reported that only 8% of surveyed Americans said they "would definitely donate money for the international AIDS crisis," while 54% said they would not help AIDS orphans and 61% said they would not support international HIV/AIDS education and prevention efforts. "[M]ost Americans don't care about Africa's AIDS crisis," Stearns writes, adding that "our government doesn't care enough." Although President Bush had proposed to spend $900 million on HIV/AIDS this year, "much more must be done," Stearns continues. "America's might was critical to victory over tyranny in the past century; its leadership is essential to winning the war against AIDS in the new century," Stearns concludes (Stearns, Seattle Times, 3/12).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.