AIDS Advocates Must Not Forget Prevention Amid Calls for Treatment, Opinion Piece Says
Although recent calls for the expansion of treatment access for HIV-positive individuals are "necessary and admirable," a "plan B" is needed in case donors do not come forth with more funding to help scale up such treatment, Malcolm Potts and Russell Green write in a San Francisco Chronicle opinion piece. Potts, co-director of the Bay Area International Group, and Green, a Ph.D. candidate in economics at the University of California-Berkeley, state that treatment advocates do not consider "planning for the eventuality that funds would fall short," despite the fact that international HIV/AIDS funding has not yet reached the annual goal of $10 billion set by U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan. The authors also note that "any further pledge of funds from donor countries or organizations ... [was] [n]otably absent" during the XIV International AIDS Conference held last month in Barcelona, Spain. "AIDS funding is still a zero-sum game between competing needs -- those with HIV and those at risk of infection," and while treatment "makes prevention [efforts] more effective," the suggestion that "prevention can only be effective with treatment is inaccurate," they state. "This epidemic is too dangerous not to have a plan B," Potts and Green write, concluding that until more funding for worldwide AIDS programs is delivered, initiatives should "continue to focus primarily on the prevention efforts that we know to be effective" (Potts/Green, San Francisco Chronicle, 8/8).
AIDS in India
The Chronicle today also ran a commentary on the HIV/AIDS epidemic in India by Siddharth Shanghvi, who is a contributor to Elle magazine and the Sunday Times of India. The article is available online (Shanghvi, San Francisco Chronicle, 8/8).