U.S. Should Shift Almost All AIDS-Related Funding to Vaccine Development, Opinion Piece Says
The United Nation's attempts to provide antiretroviral drugs to HIV-positive people in the developing world have "become a cloak of illusory compassion for politicians to hide behind" and a "salve for Western guilt about the relative privilege of those who have access" to the drugs in the United States, Patrick Moore, founding director of the Estate Project for Artists with AIDS, writes in a Chicago Tribune opinion piece. The effort has been underfunded by developed nations, especially the United States, and 90% of HIV-positive people in Africa who need treatment are still "without hope," Moore says. In addition, "[e]very empty gesture toward the epidemic in Africa allows the U.S. government to ignore the unique needs of those infected with HIV at home," Moore says. Therefore, rather than separating funding on "mutually exclusive efforts domestically and internationally," the United States should focus AIDS-related spending "almost exclusively on the development of effective HIV vaccines," which could eventually "end the epidemic" and provide "therapeutic benefits" for people already infected with the virus, Moore says. Although "[m]any feel that turning away from antiretroviral treatment and prioritizing vaccine development means heartlessly watching millions infected with HIV die," it is "far crueler to know that these people will die anyway while billions are wasted or never committed," Moore says, concluding that "when those millions die, millions more will be infected because the global vaccine plan remains underfunded" (Moore, Chicago Tribune, 5/2).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.