Newspapers Across The Country Publish Editorials, Opinion Pieces in Observance of World AIDS Day
Many newspapers have published editorials and opinion pieces in observance of World AIDS Day, which was Sunday. The Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report summarizes some of them below, separated by editorials and opinion pieces and listed in alphabetical order by newspaper name or author name.
Arizona Daily Star: The United States "could and should ... increase its contribution" to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the Star writes in an editorial. When President Bush travels to Africa next month, "he should arrive armed with a commitment," the editorial states, concluding, "He and the international community must step up with funds equal to the challenge to bring the pandemic under control and to stabilize the countries and cultures that have been devastated by the disease" (Arizona Daily Star, 12/1).
Austin American-Statesman: The "best action" that governments can take in the fight against AIDS is to "be public and vocal about AIDS: how it is transmitted and how to stop it," the American-Statesman says. The editorial adds that the United States "must live up to its financial commitment to ensure that HIV/AIDS does not undermine efforts to democratize developing nations or compromise national security," concluding that "Congress should pass" Bush's request for $1.3 billion in fiscal year 2003 funding for international HIV/AIDS initiatives (Austin-American Statesman, 12/3).
Chicago Tribune: Bush could "go a long way toward reviving national and international interest in the Global Fund," but the administration must first "push for more money and develo[p] ... a clear, military-like strategy" for fighting HIV/AIDS, a Tribune editorial states. The editorial concludes that unless the United States and other developed countries "get together to formulate a commensurate response" to AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, "without a doubt there will be hell to pay" (Chicago Tribune, 12/2).
Minneapolis Star Tribune: Wealthy nations must "dig a little deeper" and "find ways to increase their giving" to curb the international HIV/AIDS epidemic, according to a Star Tribune editorial. More money is needed not only for HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment efforts but also for food programs, programs for children who have lost one or both parents to AIDS-related causes and other social support programs, as HIV/AIDS has also "worsened the impact" of Africa's famine, the editorial concludes (Minneapolis Star Tribune, 12/4).
Newark Star-Ledger: Public health officials worry that their messages to use condoms, practice safe sex and avoid sharing needles "may be losing their potency," a Star-Ledger editorial states. Despite the fear of complacency, public health officials "must spread the good news about treatment" and encourage people to get tested early, the editorial continues, concluding, "But we must also tell people something that has been known for years: They can absolutely avoid this infection. And we must convince them that is still the best news of all" (Newark Star-Ledger, 12/2).
New Orleans Times-Picayune: The latest joint report from UNAIDS and the World Health Organization emphasizes the fact that HIV/AIDS "doesn't discriminate by gender," the Times-Picayune states, adding that more than half of those infected with HIV worldwide are women. "The U.N. estimates that prevention programs will cost $10 billion a year by 2005," the editorial says, concluding, "That's a high price, but so is the toll that AIDS has taken and will continue to take unless more is done to stop its spread" (New Orleans Times-Picayune, 12/2).
Seattle Times: Over the past 20 years, "HIV/AIDS evolved from a medical mystery to a weapon of mass destruction capable of destabilizing nations," and the three diseases of AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria "sow greater destruction and instability than any despotic regime in history," a Seattle Times editorial says. The editorial concludes, "Weakened societies are easy prey to radical religious appeals, conspiracy theories, exploitation and corruption. More money is part of the solution, but so is awareness and leadership. If the U.S. does not step forward, vital work will not be done" (Seattle Times, 12/1).
St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Even if Congress next year "makes good" on Bush's pledge to give $500 million to the Global Fund, "the amount promised is only about 20% of what the U.S. share should be, based on the relative size of its economy," the Post-Dispatch states. The editorial concludes, "The United States must lead by example, bring more of its vast resources to the global AIDS fight and challenge other developed nations to do the same" (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 12/1).
- Kofi Annan, Austin American-Statesman: "The fear of stigma leads to silence, and when it comes to fighting AIDS, silence is death," U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan writes in an Austin-American Statesman opinion piece, adding that HIV/AIDS stigma "suppresses public discussion" and prevents people from being tested for HIV. However, "the most powerful weapons against stigma and silence are the voices of the world's people speaking up," Annan says, adding that as media, schools and leaders "at the highest level" begin speaking out about the disease, the "walls of stigma and silence are weakening." He concludes, "[L]et us resolve to replace stigma with support, fear with hope and silence with solidarity" (Annan, Austin American-Statesman, 12/3).
- Mabel Bianco, Long Island Newsday: Until the world "admit[s] that a commitment to eradicating gender inequalities lies at the center" of the fight against HIV/AIDS, we will not be able to move forward in the fight, Mabel Bianco, former director of Argentina's AIDS program, writes in a Newsday opinion piece. With women now making up half of all HIV cases worldwide, and in order to stop the spread of HIV, women and men both must be able to "make informed and freely chosen decisions" regarding their reproductive health. Although 179 countries at the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo agreed to measures that would help achieve this goal, Bush and "conservative forces" are "threatening to roll back the progress ... by adopting repressive global measures and withdrawing support for international agreements." Bianco concludes that HIV/AIDS will "defeat us" if people do not oppose such actions and restate support for the Cairo agreements (Bianco, Long Island Newsday, 12/2).
- Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), Chicago Sun-Times: Bush needs a "wake-up call" to remind him that the United States will lose the fight against HIV/AIDS if it does not increase international HIV/AIDS spending, Sen. Richard Durbin writes in a Chicago Sun-Times opinion piece. So far the United States has committed only a "token" amount of money to the fight against HIV/AIDS, and the "sad truth is that our nation's reluctance in facing the global AIDS crisis today may cost us far more money in the years to come," Durbin concludes (Durbin, Chicago Sun-Times, 12/1).
- Stephen Fallon, Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel: "In the war on terrorism, our government recognizes the wisdom of investing millions of dollars to prevent potential attacks. Not so in the war against AIDS," Stephen Fallon, president of health care and disease prevention consulting firm Skills4 Inc., writes in a Sun-Sentinel opinion piece. He adds that "voodoo economic arguments," such as those presented in the Citizens Against Government Waste report, "AIDS Programs: An Epidemic of Waste," which alleged that HIV prevention programs "wast[e]" taxpayer funds, are "mislead[ing] because a typical agency's entire annual HIV prevention program budget is justified if it prevents a single HIV infection" (Fallon, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 12/1).
- Adrienne Germain, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Although many agencies, non-governmental organizations and donors worldwide are "increasingly recognizing the urgent need for more extensive and effective approaches to adolescent sexuality, health and development," the Bush administration has "strong[ly] oppos[ed]" such programming, Adrienne Germain, president of the International Women's Health Coalition, writes in a Journal Sentinel opinion piece. If providing such information to and preventing HIV/AIDS among adolescent girls is not made a "global priority," many girls have "little hope of growing up healthy -- or growing up at all" (Germain, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 12/1).
- Michael Gilles, Wisconsin State Journal: "Hopefully," Bush will be "moved to act" on the international HIV/AIDS epidemic during his trip to Africa, Michael Gilles, a member of the Student Global AIDS Campaign, writes in a State Journal opinion piece. "A comprehensive presidential AIDS initiative is our next best chance to curb the progress of this horrible disease," Gilles says, adding, "It is imperative that [Bush] lead a united effort to craft a just and compassionate American response to this crisis" (Gilles, Wisconsin State Journal, 12/3).
- John Gilmore, Memphis Commercial Appeal: People of faith need to be more involved in the fight against HIV/AIDS, John Gilmore, the pastor of the Open Heart Community of Faith in Memphis, Tenn., writes in a column in the Commercial Appeal. The faith community should "make compassion the focus" of addressing HIV/AIDS, provide congregations with accurate information about the disease and displace common myths, Gilmore adds. He concludes that "live and let live" -- the theme of World AIDS Day 2002 -- is not a "call to complacency, but rather [a call] to involvement and action" (Gilmore, Memphis Commercial Appeal, 12/1).
- Pearl Jemison-Smith, Los Angeles Times: Because there is still no cure or vaccine for HIV/AIDS, the United States must implement a "comprehensive government-wide strategy" to prevent future HIV infections, Pearl Jemison-Smith, a founding board member of AIDS Services Foundation and chair of the AIDS Walk Orange County, Calif., writes in a Los Angeles Times opinion piece. Abstinence-only sex education programs are "painfully shortsighted" and should be replaced by "aggressive HIV education and prevention (including education about condom use) as well as abstinence," Jemison-Smith concludes (Jemison-Smith, Los Angeles Times, 12/1).
- Tom Liberti, Tallahassee Democrat: HIV/AIDS is often "compounded by fear, misunderstanding and discrimination," and these issues should be discussed and addressed at the community and national levels, Tom Liberti, chief of the Bureau of HIV/AIDS for the Florida Department of Health, writes in a Tallahassee Democrat opinion piece. He concludes that people should encourage "leaders at all levels and people in all walks of life to challenge discrimination when it occurs," adding, "Only through this action can we ensure that prevention, treatment and support services are accessible to all" (Liberti, Tallahassee Democrat, 12/1).
- Sebastian Mallaby, Washington Post: President Bush, who plans to travel to Africa in January, currently has no "serious AIDS strategy," and the United States has only pledged $500 million so far to the Global Fund, Sebastian Mallaby writes in his Washington Post column. However, Bush could "silence all those European whines about cowboy unilateralism" and "turn around humanity's shameful failure" to fight HIV/AIDS by asking Congress to donate the full $7 billion -- $5 billion more than the United States' fair share -- still needed for the Global Fund, Mallaby says, asking, "What legacy could top that?" (Mallaby, Washington Post, 12/2).
- Eugene Rivers and Richard Stearns, Boston Globe: The United States needs "forceful leaders" and an alliance between Republicans and African Americans to effectively fight the HIV/AIDS epidemic, Eugene Rivers, pastor of Azusa Christian Community in Boston and special assistant to the president of the Pan-African Charismatic Evangelical Congress, and Richard Stearns, president of Christian humanitarian organization World Vision, write in a Boston Globe opinion piece. African Americans, who are the "most supportive" of fighting the international AIDS epidemic, according to a recent survey by the Barna Research Group, need to "channel their passions," while Republicans, who have the "political capital" to lead a war against HIV/AIDS, need a "leader to challenge their prejudices" (Rivers/Stearns, Boston Globe, 12/1).
- Joseph Riverson, Seattle Post-Intelligencer: "Solutions to the AIDS pandemic and its economic and social ramifications will require greater equality for women, a sustained war on poverty and a more equitable engagement between wealthy countries of the West and poor countries in the developing world," Joseph Riverson, a native of Ghana and a medical adviser on AIDS for World Vision, writes in a Seattle Post-Intelligencer opinion piece. Without such efforts, the world's future generations will face a "bleak and brutal reality," he concludes (Riverson, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 12/1).
- E.R. Shipp, New York Daily News: Although the United States no longer "run[s]" from HIV/AIDS, "the same cannot be said for other nations," E.R. Shipp writes in her New York Daily News column, adding that the fact that AIDS has not "been licked" is "kept ... quie[t]." She concludes, "While this year's World AIDS Day theme -- Live and Let Live -- sounds like a James Bond movie, in reality it is meant to urge governments, industry and nonprofits to do all they can to assure that people with HIV/AIDS can get proper medical attention as well as improved basic living conditions -- and that others do not use the illness as justification for ostracizing those with the disease or even brutalizing and killing them" (Shipp, New York Daily News, 12/1).
- Cynthia Tucker, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: The Bush administration is continuing to "shortchange poor nations struggling with AIDS," Cynthia Tucker writes in a Journal-Constitution column. However, if someone could convince Bush to see the "connection between increased foreign aid and a more stable world," he could use his current popularity to convince the rest of the United States, Tucker concludes (Tucker, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 12/1).
- Adrienne Washington, Washington Times: Washington, in her Washington Times column, urges readers to "[g]o ahead" and get tested for HIV. "Combating and eradicating the deadly disease that knows no geographic, gender, ethnic or economic borders begins by arming ourselves with better information," Washington says, adding, "For what you don't know may kill you" (Washington, Washington Times, 12/3).