Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report Summarizes Editorials, Opinion Pieces on HIV/AIDS-Related Issues
Several newspapers have published editorials and opinion pieces about HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and media coverage one week after the conclusion of the XV International AIDS Conference in Bangkok, Thailand. Summaries of some of the pieces appear below:
Atlanta Journal-Constitution: CDC's proposal to change federally funded AIDS education to focus on abstinence is "bad science and politics," because when "it comes to teaching people how to prevent AIDS, there's no way around the discussion of condoms and their proper use," a Journal-Constitution editorial says. Although some people may consider information on how to use a condom correctly to be "graphic," the "consequences of watering down AIDS prevention education are more graphic still," the editorial concludes (Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 7/26).
New York Times: More resources are needed for HIV/AIDS education and prevention programs so that the "paradox" seen in wealthy nations in which greater access to antiretroviral drugs led to an increase in the number of new HIV infections, does not repeat itself in developing countries, a Times editorial says. Increased funds for prevention will "complement new AIDS treatment programs," which, when combined, could "sav[e] tens of millions of lives," the editorial concludes (New York Times, 7/26).
- Gerald Boyd, Detroit Free Press: Although the media will "always respond to events" like the international AIDS conference, it must be "careful to not overlook the everyday experiences" of HIV/AIDS that make a story "much more meaningful than statistics alone," Boyd, director of case studies at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism writes in a Free Press opinion piece. The conference can only tell "part of the story," and the "role of the media is to tell all of it," Boyd concludes (Boyd, Detroit Free Press, 7/25).
- Robert Engelman, Washington Post: AIDS advocates at the conference were not protesting the "obvious fact" that promoting abstinence can "indeed make an important contribution to prevention," Engelman, vice president of research for Population Action International, writes in a Post letter to the editor in response to Sebastian Mallaby's July 19 Post opinion piece (Engelman, Washington Post, 7/26). In his piece, Mallaby criticized AIDS advocates for their "hostility" toward the Bush administration and the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 7/20). According to Engelman, AIDS advocates' protests were aimed at the Bush administration's emphasis on abstinence-only initiatives, which he said "threate[n]" the efficacy of local programs that "feel the pressure" to change their strategies in order to obtain funding (Washington Post, 7/26).
- Donald MacGillis, Boston Globe: Safe injection practices and blood safety programs in developing countries should be "at the top of the to-do list of the world's AIDS fighters," columnist MacGillis writes in a Globe opinion piece. Health officials have "too long minimized" these sources of infections, and wealthy nations, organizations and countries most affected by the disease "must do more to ensure that health providers are not infecting patients," MacGillis concludes (MacGillis, Boston Globe, 7/26).
- John Scheldrick, Ottawa Citizen: Although abstinence is the "most logical of choices" in preventing the spread of HIV, it is a "completely impractical way of battling the epidemic in certain parts of the world," freelance writer Scheldrick writes in an Ottawa Citizen opinion piece. One would be "hard pressed to comprehend the reasoning behind" abstinence-only programs for groups such as commercial sex workers and youth, Scheldrick concludes (Scheldrick, Ottawa Citizen, 7/24).
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.