Saying Wealthy Nations Must Do More, Piot Lobbies for AIDS Inclusion on G8 Summit Agenda
Not a "single wealthy country ... is doing enough" to fight the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the developing world, UNAIDS Executive Director Peter Piot said yesterday while in Ottawa to lobby for the inclusion of HIV/AIDS on the agenda for the June 26-27 Group of Eight summit in Alberta, the Toronto Globe and Mail reports. Piot said that developed countries "have not yet understood how AIDS is going to destabilize the world and their economies. They really need to act now." The G8 nations should increase spending on HIV/AIDS by 50% or more, which would bring annual contributions near the estimated $10 billion needed to fight the epidemic, Piot said. Research and programs exist already to help the 40 million people worldwide with HIV/AIDS, he noted; now, money is simply "needed to implement" those efforts, the Globe and Mail reports. Piot added that wealthy nations should "invest in education" programs for developing nations, not just focus on drug distribution (Picard, Toronto Globe and Mail, 3/15).
Fund AIDS Fight Like Terrorism Efforts, Envoy Says
Also yesterday, Stephen Lewis, the U.N. special envoy for AIDS in Africa, told reporters in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa that developed nations should respond to AIDS as seriously as they have responded to terrorism, Agence France-Presse reports. "On Sept. 11, 2001, 3,000 people died in a horrific terrorist act and within a few days, the world was talking about hundreds of billions of dollars to fight terrorism," Lewis said. He continued, "But in 2001, 2.3 million Africans died of AIDS and you have to beg and plead to find a few hundred million dollars to respond." Lewis called the disparity "completely morally wrong in human terms," adding, "[T]hat's what the world is beginning to realize" (Agence France-Presse, 3/14).