Global HIV Working Group Report Provides ‘Realistic Strategy’ To Fight ‘Calamitous Spread’ of HIV/AIDS, Columnist Says
A recently released report from the Global HIV Prevention Working Group provides a "realistic strategy that, if adequately funded, could restrain the calamitous spread of AIDS," Michael Waldholz, Wall Street Journal health and science news editor, writes in his column (Waldholz, Wall Street Journal, 5/20). The Working Group, which was convened in 2002 by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Kaiser Family Foundation, is comprised of nearly 40 experts in public health, clinical care, biomedical, behavioral and social research and people affected by HIV/AIDS around the world. The report, titled "Access to HIV Prevention: Closing the Gap," is the first region-by-region analysis of access to prevention programs and spending levels compared with projected future need. The report states that most people with the greatest need do not have access to prevention programs. The report recommends increasing global HIV/AIDS funding three-fold by 2005; scaling up prevention programs in all regions; integrating prevention and treatment programs; improving infrastructure; focusing policy reform and international aid on issues such as stigma, poverty and gender equality that facilitate the spread of HIV/AIDS; and accelerating research on effective prevention strategies (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 5/14). Waldholz says that although "none of the report's specific suggestions are alone surprising or new," this is the first report that has "provided such a clear roadmap for attainable success." Waldholz continues, "Between this newly established intellectual infrastructure, and all too many years of learning from AIDS, there is a growing sense that the time to battle back this disease has come." Waldholdz concludes that the Working Group report offers the "best chance for slowing a disease that, more than any other contagious ailment ... threatens the planet's survival" (Wall Street Journal, 5/20).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.