U.N. Special Envoy Stephen Lewis Calls Western Response to African AIDS Crisis ‘Woefully Inadequate’
Western nations have been "too slow" to help fight HIV/AIDS and hunger in Africa and have employed a "double standard" regarding treatment of HIV-positive Africans and HIV-positive Westerners, Stephen Lewis, the U.N. Secretary General's special envoy on HIV/AIDS, said yesterday, Reuters/New York Post reports (Reuters/New York Post, 12/9). Lewis, on a three-week tour of southern Africa, called the West's response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Africa "woefully inadequate" and said that people with HIV/AIDS in developed countries "can live for years," due to access to treatment options, while those in African countries are "condemned to death." Sub-Saharan Africa, which is home to approximately 70% of the world's individuals with AIDS, has lost seven million agricultural workers since 1995 due to AIDS-related causes, a situation that has added to the region's widespread food shortage. Lewis said that although the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria has collected $2.1 billion, at least $10 billion is needed. "This, regrettably, results in death in Africa -- AIDS is tearing apart the heart of Africa," Lewis said. "We know there is a lot of money out there, we know there is plenty food ... but something must be profoundly wrong somewhere, something is morally wrong somewhere" (AP/Dow Jones International News, 12/8).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.