Asian Leaders Must See AIDS as ‘Assault’ on Children, Opinion Piece Says
The fact that the XV International AIDS Conference is scheduled to be held in July in Bangkok, Thailand, "rightly" recognizes Thailand for the "bold measures" it has taken against HIV and "warn[s] Asia that this region is soon to become the new epicenter of AIDS if much more is not done extremely quickly," Sri Chander, World Vision International Asia-Pacific regional health adviser, writes in a Bangkok Post opinion piece. Although debate about how to prevent HIV/AIDS has centered on condoms, drugs and contaminated blood products, "to our shame it is the children -- especially the youngest and most vulnerable in the world's poorest countries -- who have been the most neglected," Chander says, adding that the "sheer size of Asia's population means that millions of children will suffer with even low infection rates." Therefore, Asian governments, communities and nongovernmental organizations must develop programs to care for AIDS orphans, guaranteeing that they "enjoy the same benefits as children with parents," Chander says. In addition, "we must stop children from becoming orphans in the first place" by providing cheap generic antiretroviral drugs to prolong the lives of their HIV-positive parents, Chander says. Finally, the area's "political, religious, corporate, education and community leaders must see AIDS for what it is: an assault first and foremost on our children," Chander concludes (Chander, Bangkok Post, 6/8).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.