Wealthy Countries Could Bring African HIV/AIDS Epidemic ‘Under Control,’ Economist Jeffrey Sachs Says
The United States and other wealthy countries could bring the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Africa "under control" by working together, partnering with African nations and contributing more resources and effort, Jeffrey Sachs, director of Columbia University's Earth Institute and special adviser to U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, said on Wednesday in an interview on NPR's "Tavis Smiley Show." Sachs said that although HIV/AIDS has been "allowed to run rampant in the poorest countries without almost any attention ... from us until very, very recently," the United States is "starting to act" with the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, which seeks to provide treatment to two million HIV-positive people living in 14 African and Caribbean countries. Sachs said that "hard hit" regions of Southern and Eastern Africa are "being devastated" by HIV/AIDS in a manner similar to that of Europe during the plague in the Middle Ages. However, the developed world's access to antiretroviral drugs -- which often do not reach the poorest people -- is "one big difference" between the scenarios, according to Sachs. "Imagine ... if China had a cure but wasn't giving it to Europe. Imagine how that would have played for the next 700 years," Sachs said. Time magazine has named Sachs one of the 100 most influential leaders in the world, NPR reports (Smiley, "Tavis Smiley Show," NPR, 5/12). The complete segment is available online in RealPlayer.This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.