World Must ‘Dramatically’ Increase Funding for HIV/AIDS Fight in Africa, Carter, Gates Sr. Say in Op-Ed
The United States and other nations must "dramatically" increase funding to help address the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Africa, while African nations "need to make their own health spending a greater priority," former President Jimmy Carter and Bill Gates Sr., co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, write in a Los Angeles Times op-ed. According to Carter and Gates, although the future development of an AIDS vaccine represents the "best hope to end the pandemic," world leaders must support "proven and affordable interventions now" to reduce transmission of the virus. They write that heads of state in Africa need to "stress that HIV/AIDS is a direct threat" to their nations and residents and establish a "massive public education effort combined with aggressive programs of condom distribution, especially to groups at the highest risk of contracting and spreading the disease." In addition, African leaders should offer voluntary counseling services, HIV tests and treatments for other sexually transmitted diseases, which can "increase susceptibility" to HIV. They should also provide pregnant women with nevirapine, an antiretroviral drug that can reduce the risk of vertical HIV transmission by 50% at a cost of $4 per treatment, Carter and Gates write. However, they state that it "will be impossible to reverse the HIV/AIDS epidemic without a dramatic increase in health funding" from the United States and other nations. Carter and Gates conclude, "The more we realize that pennies a day can save millions of lives, the more we should insist that the world's wealthiest nation continue to increase its health aid and take a lead role in ending this disease" (Carter/Gates, Los Angeles Times, 4/7).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.