United States, Caribbean Nations Should Cooperate to Fight HIV/AIDS, Editorial Says
"A heavy dose" of cooperation between the United States and Caribbean nations is needed to make progress in the fight against HIV/AIDS in the region, a South Florida Sun-Sentinel editorial states. Fighting HIV/AIDS is necessary for the "survival" of the Caribbean: 2% of Caribbean adults are HIV-positive, and nearly 500,000 people in the region are living with the virus, making the severity of the region's HIV/AIDS crisis second only to that in sub-Saharan Africa, the Sun-Sentinel writes. Of the 12 countries in the Americas with the highest HIV prevalence, nine are Caribbean nations. While many Caribbean countries lack adequate health services, Caribbean governments "could do more" with their "limited" resources by improving prevention and public-awareness campaigns, as well as teaching safe-sex practices and discouraging needle sharing, the Sun-Sentinel states. The editorial adds that the United States "has an interest in preventing an epidemic on its third border" -- trade with the Caribbean is important, the region is visited by "[m]illions" of American tourists each year and the Caribbean is "a major source" of U.S. immigration. The editorial praises the Bush administration for sending HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson to Guyana last weekend to address a HIV/AIDS conference, for offering $20 million to the Pan Caribbean Partnership to fight HIV/AIDS and for sending U.S. health experts to work with their counterparts in Caribbean nations. But these actions should be "part of a long-term plan and commitment" to fighting HIV/AIDS in the region, the editorial concludes (South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 4/25).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.