China Should Apply Experience With SARS to AIDS Epidemic, Boston Globe Editorial Says
If China applied the lessons learned from its experience with severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, to its approach to the AIDS epidemic, the country could "minimize the toll" of AIDS and other diseases and "serve as a model to other developing countries," a Boston Globe editorial says. The SARS epidemic exposed the need for "more open communication between grassroots health care workers and the government and between the government and international health officials" and for increased investment in public health, the editorial states. Such an increase is needed to combat the "cataclysmic effects of the interrelated infections of tuberculosis and AIDS," the Globe says, adding that the two diseases are an "explosive mix" in countries with high levels of latent tuberculosis, such as India and China. An HIV-negative person with latent TB living in China or India has a 5% to 10% lifetime risk of developing active TB; however, that risk is increased to 10% per year if a person has both HIV infection and latent TB, according to the editorial. While China and India have made strides in "mobiliz[ing] the public health manpower to treat TB," the countries need to learn to "treat TB aggressively while at the same time preventing and treating AIDS," the editorial says.
The "high priority" that the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria attaches to addressing the three diseases is "one of several reasons that the United States should channel a high proportion of its international AIDS money through" the fund, the editorial says. In addition, the United States could use donations to the fund to increase donor support worldwide, according to the Globe. In its consideration of the international AIDS bill (HR 1298) approved in the House on May 1, which would allow "only" up to $1 billion of the first year funding to go to the fund, the Senate "should call for greater support," the editorial concludes (Boston Globe, 5/12).
ABCNews' "Nightline" on May 7 included a discussion with Dr. David Baltimore, president of the California Institute of Technology, and Dr. Tim Johnson, ABCNews medical editor, on the similarities and differences between SARS and HIV/AIDS (Bury, "Nightline," ABCNews, 5/7). The full segment is available online in RealPlayer. In addition, complete ABCNews coverage of SARS is available online.