U.S. Should ‘Redouble Efforts’ To Fight HIV/AIDS, Global AIDS Alliance Official Says in Letter to Editor
The United States should "redouble [its] efforts" in the fight against the HIV/AIDS pandemic, Global AIDS Alliance Communications Director David Bryden writes in a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel letter to the editor. Bryden says that he was "moved" by a March 14 Journal Sentinel article that detailed the "many contributions that people from Wisconsin are making" to combat HIV/AIDS worldwide (Bryden, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 3/18). The article examined efforts to train health care workers and provide antiretroviral medications to HIV-positive people in sub-Saharan Africa, where AIDS "has long had its worst impact," according to the Journal Sentinel. Although "Africa and its problems seemed remote," many individuals, organizations and governments are doing more to help bring "limited quantities of life-saving AIDS drugs" to the continent, in what amounts to the biggest public health experiment in history," the Journal Sentinel reported (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 3/15). The article quoted HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson saying that U.S. efforts should allow the country to be seen as "friend and not foe." However, Bryden writes that it is "ironic" that Thompson made the statement because while he has served as chair of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the United States has reduced by 64% its contribution. Bryden added that the funding reduction will make the U.S. contribution "a tiny fraction of what the fund needs in 2005." According to Bryden, "[n]o one really knows how the Global Fund will keep providing desperately needed AIDS medications and prevention services next year," and several "cost-effective and well-managed programs supported by the fund are bound to suffer." He concludes that President Bush and Thompson "should make up their minds about" whether they want to be "[f]riend or foe" (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 3/18).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.