Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report Summarizes Opinion Pieces Marking World AIDS Day
Many newspapers have published editorials and opinion pieces in observance of World AIDS Day, which is Monday, Dec. 1. The Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report summarizes some of them below, separated by editorials and opinion pieces and listed in alphabetical order by newspaper or author name.
Arizona Daily Star: The message on World AIDS Day is "grim," with the HIV/AIDS epidemic "running rampant" in Africa and other parts of the world, a Daily Star editorial says. Although the epidemic in Africa "seems too far away to make much difference" in the United States, the famine and poverty caused by HIV/AIDS in Africa is threatening to become a worldwide security problem. The editorial concludes that U.S. support is "crucial" in battling the disease (Arizona Daily Star, 12/1).
Dallas Morning News: Everyone "has a stake" in the war against AIDS, which "[a]side from representing a ruthless assault on our common humanity ... has become a terribly destabilizing force, economically and even politically," a Morning News editorial says. AIDS "must be confronted as a threat to world security ... [b]y continuing to expand access to lifesaving drugs ... blunting mother-to-child transmissions of the disease ... and eliminating the stigma and discrimination that still impede prevention, testing and treatment programs," the editorial concludes (Dallas Morning News, 12/1).
Miami Herald: The threat of terrorism "pales beside the widespread havoc and long-term harm" posed by AIDS, a Herald editorial says. If the epidemic remains unchecked, it will "continue to spread its insidious attack on civil societies and national economies," the editorial says, adding that encouraging steps in Uganda, Brazil and other countries "can't begin to staunch the pandemic unless prevention and treatment expand to a truly global scale." Such an effort will "require near-universal confluence of governmental will to recognize the AIDS threat enough to put the resources necessary for an all-out war on this terrible disease," the editorial concludes (Miami Herald, 12/1).
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Although the South African government "finally has pulled its head from the sand" and approved a free antiretroviral drug treatment plan, the HIV/AIDS epidemic "shows no sign of abating," a Journal Sentinel editorial says. The United States "cannot afford to be indifferent" to the epidemic in Africa and the effort to contain the disease will not be "easy or cheap," the editorial concludes (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 11/30).
Newark Star-Ledger: The "huge" HIV/AIDS pandemic is "tragic and deserves all the attention it gets," a Star-Ledger editorial says. HIV/AIDS is "not a far-away" problem, but is a "massive health" issue "here in the United States," the editorial says. The Star-Ledger concludes that while "[w]e cannot ignore our neighbors around the world," we also cannot "ignore the same problem at home, where state health officials say many people have grown complacent about" the disease (Newark Star-Ledger, 11/30).
Rochester Democrat and Chronicle: World leaders must join together to ensure equal access to antiretroviral treatment for all AIDS patients and to "intensif[y]" prevention measures, a Democrat and Chronicle editorial says. The United States "must provide the promised aid to help distribute these medicines and prevent further infections" and, "[i]f other nations follow our lead, there will be a better chance of defeating AIDS, on all fronts," the editorial concludes (Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, 12/1).
- Peter Bell, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: AIDS is the "most devastating humanitarian crisis of our time" and "continues to wreak havoc on national productivity in [developing] countries, further eroding any hopes people have of escaping poverty," Bell, president of CARE, says in a Journal-Constitution opinion piece. Therefore, "[w]e must help through direct support, and by influencing policy in the United States and striving to secure funding from the world's richest country to tackle HIV/AIDS on a global scale," Bell says (Bell, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 12/1).
- Nils Daulaire, Miami Herald: Antiretroviral drug programs in countries like Botswana and Haiti show that "AIDS treatment in poor countries is both feasible and effective," Daulaire, president of the Global Health Council, says in a Herald opinion piece. He concludes that complexity and cost of treatment are two obstacles to providing antiretroviral drugs in resource-poor environments, but work on global AIDS must be "about changing AIDS from a death sentence to a realistic hope for life" (Daulaire, Miami Herald, 12/1).
- Julie Gerberding, Washington Post: "While it is tempting today to think of AIDS as Africa's or Asia's problem, we are far from winning our domestic fight against HIV" and it is "unconscionable" that 180,000 to 280,000 HIV-positive people in the United States are unaware they are HIV-positive, Gerberding, director of the CDC, says in a Post opinion piece. Stopping the epidemic requires the United States to "maintain our focus on health education and risk reduction, ... encourage everyone at risk to get tested for HIV early, ... tackl[e] stigma and discrimination; ... [and] make full use of the latest diagnostic technologies," such as the new rapid HIV test, Gerberding says (Gerberding, Washington Post, 12/1).
- D. George Joseph, St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Stemming the proliferation of HIV/AIDS in India will be "crucial" to containing the global epidemic, Joseph, a doctoral candidate at the Yale University School of Medicine, says in a Post-Dispatch opinion piece. Joseph concludes that business and government leaders in India must "acknowledge the severity of the crisis" and recognize the impact of HIV/AIDS on the country's "future social, economic, and political fabric and growth" (Joseph, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 12/1).
- Vincent Kimball, Baltimore Sun: "There is only one way to eradicate [AIDS] from the face of the earth -- by recognizing it and its victims and lending aid," Kimball, a retired Baltimore City School System educator who is HIV-positive, says in a Sun opinion piece. "An educated public can help prevent" the spread of HIV and a "compassionate public can help those who suffer with it by becoming educated about it, and even lending a hand," Kimball says (Kimball, Baltimore Sun, 12/1).
- Whitney Matheson, USA Today: In honor of World AIDS Day, Web diarists and bloggers are holding a "day without blogs," according to USA Today "Hip Clicks" columnist Matheson, who replaced the column's "usual gossipy, entertainment-related fare" with a list of Web sites related to HIV/AIDS. Matheson lists links to the World AIDS Day Web site, the official site of the AIDS Memorial Quilt, the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, Gay Men's Health Crisis and the Children Affected by AIDS Foundation (Matheson, USA Today, 12/1).
- Daniel Pellegrom, St. Paul Pioneer Press: The U.S. government should "commit" to restore funding for the United Nations Population Fund, repeal the Mexico City Policy, fully fund Bush's global AIDS initiative, and "[m]ake a long-term commitment" to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, Pellegrom, president of Pathfinder International, a not-for-profit group working in reproductive health and HIV/AIDS, says in a Pioneer Press opinion piece. He concludes that "the opportunity exists to make a difference and create positive change for families who face an epidemic that threatens their future" (Pellegrom, St. Paul Pioneer Press, 11/30).
- Dan Rather, Houston Chronicle: Although the United States is "far from immune" to the HIV/AIDS pandemic, AIDS in the United States "pales before the full-blown crisis that has taken deep hold in sub-Saharan Africa," Rather, anchor of the "CBS Evening News," writes in a Chronicle opinion piece. He concludes that "it seems clear" that President Bush's global AIDS initiative and "other help will be desperately needed" because the "sad and shocking statistics of another World AIDS Day cannot and should not be forgotten or brushed aside lightly" (Rather, Houston Chronicle, 11/28).
- Jack Smith, Philadelphia Inquirer: With the message of World AIDS Day focusing on stigma and discrimination, Smith, who recently returned from a trip to Botswana with the African Comprehensive HIV/AIDS Partnership, said that "[n]owhere are the consequences of social taboos more evident than in Botswana." Smith writes that although "[n]obody expects change overnight ... change is happening," concluding, "Botswana may yet be known as the country where the tide was turned" (Smith, Philadelphia Inquirer, 11/30).
- Brad Ward and Dara Austin, Fort Worth Star-Telegram: The "cost of HIV/AIDS, literally and figuratively, is far too high to meet with" complacent attitudes about the disease and time has come to "re-energize the issue," Ward, executive director of AIDS Resources of Rural Texas, and Austin, executive director of AIDS Outreach Center of Metropolitan Tarrant County, say in a Star-Telegram opinion piece. "HIV/AIDS is unique in that the power to stop it lies in all of us," Ward and Austin conclude, adding that we must "confront the consequences of risk, and ... take a stand and make a difference" (Ward/Austin, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 12/1).
- Jerome Zack and Sam Ho, San Francisco Chronicle: A "concerted effort" to find a cure for HIV/AIDS is "more critical than ever," Zack, a researcher with the University of California-Los Angeles AIDS Institute, and Ho, PacifiCare Health Systems' chief medical officer, say in a Chronicle opinion piece. Because poorer countries "cannot afford to supply their populations with maintenance drugs as they try to change behaviors and taboos toward the disease," finding a cure has become an "urgent necessity" that must be supported by "drug companies, research institutions, health plans, AIDS organizations and individuals," Zack and Ho conclude (Zack/Ho, San Francisco Chronicle, 12/1).
Additional information on World AIDS Day -- including webcasts; access to studies and key facts; and links to resources and organizations around the world -- can be found online on kaisernetwork.org. This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.