World Leaders Must Address HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria Pandemics, Richard Feachem Writes in Washington Post Opinion Piece
The war against HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria is "just beginning" and world leaders must develop "new, larger and more effective responses" against the pandemics, Richard Feachem, executive director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, writes in a Washington Post opinion piece. Although public health officials "understand the disease's cause, transmissions and effects on the human body," the HIV/AIDS pandemic "continues unabated," Feachem writes. He points out that HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria have decreased life expectancy and mortality rates in many nations, adding that each of them can be prevented, "if not cured." However, he writes, "we spend billions trying to prevent terrorism and pennies on fighting these much bigger killers." The current "denial and inaction" against the diseases could lead to HIV/AIDS epidemics in the largest Asian nations, which "will dwarf what we see in Africa," Feachem writes. He maintains that "the world needs leaders in the countries most affected to rally their people to the fight," adding, "Leaders in wealthy countries must make sure that their citizens realize the global consequences of inaction and mobilize the money and expertise needed to stem the tide" against HIV/AIDS. Feachem concludes, "The lethal mix of ignorance, apathy and denial that is widespread among the educated citizens of both rich and poor countries is at the heart of our collective failure to act. Citizens believe that peace, law and order, and protecting the environment are important. It is time for citizens to believe that HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria are important ... and to be vocal about it" (Feachem, Washington Post, 1/12).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.