Eurasian HIV/AIDS Epidemic Will Have Harsh Economic Consequences, Columnist States
The HIV/AIDS epidemic in Eurasia "is a phenomenon potentially more destabilizing than any act of terrorism has ever been," George Will writes in his Newsweek column. Will cites a recent Foreign Affairs essay that outlined the potential military, economic and social impacts of the escalating HIV/AIDS epidemic in Eurasia, which was defined in the essay as the region encompassing Asia and Russia. Will states that while the global reaction to AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa may have been "mild" because the region "is of marginal political and economic importance," Eurasia is home to a majority of the world's population and has a combined gross national product that surpasses that of the United States. Will writes that in China, India and Russia, 44 million members of the "economically active" population between the ages of 15 and 64 might die of AIDS-related causes by 2025. At the same time, the cost of treating and caring for people with HIV/AIDS will drain economic resources, Will writes. "The net effect could approximate cutting off afflicted countries from globalization, which means from the great commercial engine of wealth creation that supports lifestyles essential to public health improvements," Will concludes (Will, Newsweek, 11/11).
'Weapon of Mass Destruction'
"Though the war against terrorism has received much of the media's attention, the looming AIDS pandemic poses a devastating threat to human existence," the Indianapolis Star says in an editorial, noting that the National Intelligence Council estimates that the "next big wave" of the epidemic will occur in Russia, China, India, Nigeria and Ethiopia, five countries that hold 40% of the world's population. If the virus "spread[s] unchecked" through these countries, it would strain leadership roles, "fragile economies" and resources, the editorials says. The Star states that the "world must adopt a comprehensive plan" to fight HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases, including malaria and tuberculosis, "or face the increasing likelihood that they will continue to spread." However, "the United States' commitment to the battle against HIV/AIDS has been inadequate," the editorial says, concluding, "We must see AIDS for what it is: a weapon of mass destruction" (Indianapolis Star, 11/7).