Other Countries Can Learn From ‘Major Success Story’ of Cuba’s Fight Against HIV/AIDS, Opinion Piece Says
The world can learn from the "major success story" of Cuba's "compassionate" response to its HIV/AIDS epidemic, Peter McKenna, assistant professor in the University of Prince Edward Island Department of Political Studies, writes in a Toronto Star opinion piece. Although the country was "widely condemned" in the mid-1980s for its attempts to "isolate and quarantine" HIV-positive people, the country now is "hailed by some as a shining example" of how to fight HIV/AIDS, McKenna says. Cuba has "virtually eliminated" HIV transmission through blood transfusion, injection drug use and from mothers to their infants, according to McKenna. In addition, all HIV-positive Cubans are guaranteed access to free medical care, McKenna says, adding that there is "clearly a strong commitment on the part of the political leadership in Cuba to undertake a wide-ranging and comprehensive HIV/AIDS action plan -- domestically as well as internationally." The country has sent "thousands of doctors and nurses to almost every part of the world" and has "promised to provide antiretroviral drugs to its Caribbean friends for a cost well below market prices," McKenna says. These efforts are "even more impressive when you realize that Cuba is largely a poor, developing country locked in an undeclared war" with the United States, McKenna says, adding, "As a comparatively rich and industrialized country, where is Canada's leadership on this critical issue?" (McKenna, Toronto Star, 7/29).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.