Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report Summarizes Editorials, Opinion Pieces Marking World AIDS Day
Several newspapers recently have published editorials and opinion pieces on HIV/AIDS, some of which are summarized below.
Arizona Republic: The United States must "battle complacency" and use World AIDS Day as a "springboard" for parents to discuss the disease and prevention with their children and to make HIV/AIDS "a routine part of medical visits," according to a Republic editorial (Arizona Republic, 12/1).
Atlanta Journal-Constitution: With an HIV/AIDS vaccine still "years away," there is "a greater need than ever" for a worldwide "social vaccine" that combines proven prevention and testing programs with public awareness campaigns, according to a Journal-Constitution editorial. President Bush has "won praise" for increasing U.S. contributions to the HIV/AIDS fight, and he "could grab the high moral ground again by taking the lead to deal with the continuing epidemic both at home and abroad," the editorial concludes (Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 12/1).
Bergen Record: The HIV/AIDS pandemic "is getting even worse" and "far more must be done" to fight the disease, a Bergen Record editorial says. No one country can "defeat" HIV/AIDS alone and an "unprecedented degree of cooperation and a sense of urgency that has so far not been evident" will have to occur, according to the editorial. However, "given the millions infected already, things will get a lot worse before they get better," the editorial concludes (Bergen Record, 12/1).
Boston Globe: Now that HIV/AIDS is "increasingly spread by unprotected heterosexual sex," prevention strategies that "recognize the physical and socio-economic vulnerability of women" are needed, a Globe editorial says. As a result, the United States, World Health Organization and other organizations should ensure funding of microbicide and vaccine studies, the editorial says (Boston Globe, 12/1).
Contra Costa Times: Women in developing nations are at high risk of contracting HIV in part because of "inadequate knowledge" about the disease, "insufficient access" to HIV prevention services and an "inability to negotiate safer sex," a Times editorial says. However, HIV prevalence rates among women in developed countries also are increasing, which is "more a matter of women not putting themselves and their health first," the editorial says. Getting the message out that "[n]o man is worth the price of living with HIV and dying from an AIDS-related illness" must continue and women "must demand protection be used," the editorial concludes (Contra Costa Times, 12/1).
Denver Post: It is "high time" that Bush administration "recommit" to fulfilling the president's January 2003 funding pledge of $15 billion over five years for international HIV/AIDS, according to a Post editorial (Denver Post, 12/1).
Des Moines Register: Developed countries should give donations to developing nations to help them fund adequate HIV education programs and provide HIV-positive people with medications, but developing countries "must help themselves by empowering and protecting the women in their society," according to a Register editorial (Des Moines Register, 12/1).
Fort Wayne Journal Gazette: There is "very little to celebrate" during this year's World AIDS Day because the Bush administration's policy of focusing on abstinence education programs in international HIV/AIDS prevention programs is "so willfully ignorant, tragically short-sighted and quasi-colonial in nature that it borders on the immoral," a Journal Gazette editorial says. In addition, people need to realize that AIDS is not "solely a global issue," nor does it only affect "homosexuals, intravenous drug users and prostitutes," nor is it "just a 'white thing,'" the editorial says (Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, 11/29).
Houston Chronicle: The rise in HIV prevalence rates among minority groups, low-income people and women "provides clues about the socio-economic factors that contribute to AIDS' spread," but "reversing the trend is as complex as the factors that play into it," according to a Chronicle editorial. The federal policy that "emphasizes abstinence and failure rates of condoms" is "another obstacle," and elected leaders should "push prevention efforts" in the country, the editorial concludes (Houston Chronicle, 11/30).
Jakarta Post: More "concerted efforts" are needed from both the Indonesian government and the public to "check the spread" of HIV and avoid the "danger" of "fool[ing] ourselves into complacency," a Post editorial says. Although "[c]learer" government positions on the "hazards of unsafe sex" are needed to "check potential complacency," there is "a responsibility for everyone at the very least to educate themselves and the people in their immediate surroundings" about HIV/AIDS, the editorial concludes (Jakarta Post, 12/1).
Kansas City Star: Although President Bush last month promised to "press forward on the HIV/AIDS initiative," "[p]olitics and vague promises won't contain the AIDS scourge," a Star editorial says, concluding, "It will take a real commitment of resources from the U.S. government and the rest of the world to defeat this disease" (Kansas City Star, 12/1).
Minneapolis Star Tribune: Spending $50 billion to help control the spread of HIV would save 500 times as much money as it would cost and likely would prevent more than 30 million new infections, according to a Tribune editorial. The money needed to undertake such a plan is not "beyond reach" -- people in the United States spend as much on soft drinks and weight-loss products -- so "[c]an anyone seriously say that this smidgen of 'extra' cash is beyond reach? Would anyone dare claim that the multitude weathering the onslaught of AIDS is beyond help?" the editorial asks (Minneapolis Star Tribune, 12/1).
New Orleans Times-Picayune: Educational and economic programs that empower women will "go a long way toward" preventing HIV infection among women, a Times-Picayune editorial says. However, women will continue to be at risk until more men heed safe sex messages, especially in "male-dominated" societies where women have few options about protecting themselves during sex, the editorial concludes (New Orleans Times-Picayune, 12/1).
Newark Star-Ledger: Long-term efforts to "attack the cultural and other factors that exacerbate" the spread of HIV/AIDS among women -- such as increased access to education, microbicides and economic opportunities and freedom from violence -- are needed, but more "immediate measures" also must be taken, according to a Star-Ledger editorial. Increased funding for generic antiretroviral drugs, community-based programs and new models of prevention and treatment, especially to eliminate the stigma of the disease, are needed now to fight HIV/AIDS' "destructive tide," the editorial concludes (Newark Star-Ledger, 12/1).
Rochester Democrat and Chronicle: Poverty and oppression of women in the United States and worldwide is allowing HIV/AIDS to spread, and "global support" is needed to improve women's social and economic status, according to a Democrat and Chronicle editorial. These inequalities must be addressed or AIDS will "continue to devastate the neediest and most powerless," the editorial concludes (Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, 12/1).
St. Paul Pioneer Press: Ignorance and an "unwillingness to face hard truths" are hurting communities by allowing the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS to continue, according to a Pioneer Press editorial. Increased dialogue, especially among immigrant populations who consider it "taboo" to discuss HIV/AIDS, is needed to find solutions to the disease, the editorial says (St. Paul Pioneer Press, 12/1).
San Francisco Chronicle: The HIV/AIDS battle is "being lost" in the developing world, but "one dream has endured: a silver-bullet vaccine that could prevent infection," a Chronicle editorial says. Unfortunately, vaccine candidates continue to fail and "[t]ime is running out," so "expanded programs and continued spending are the only hope in stemming AIDS," the editorial concludes (San Francisco Chronicle, 11/30).
Tennessean: The "most potent ammunition" in the fight against HIV/AIDS is awareness, which can help with prevention and "erase the stigma" surrounding the disease, according to a Tennessean editorial. Awareness also can serve to keep the world focused on the "vicious" fight ahead and encourage continued funding until a cure is found, the editorial concludes (Tennessean, 12/1).
Toronto Star: Although many developed nations have become "largely complacent" and have forgotten "what a plague HIV/AIDS has become" in other parts of the world, they "cannot rest easy" in the fight against HIV/AIDS, according to a Star editorial. Additional funding for awareness, prevention and treatment efforts are still needed to combat the problem in Africa, the editorial says (Toronto Star, 12/1).
- Washington Post: The decision to focus on women and girls during World AIDS Day may "turn out to be an error," according to a Post editorial. Prevention efforts should be on "high-risk groups" -- such as injection drug users, commercial sex workers and men who have unprotected sex with men -- who are both most at risk for contracting HIV and most likely to spread the disease, the editorial says (Washington Post, 12/1).
- Julian Bond/Roslyn McCallister Brock, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: The fight against HIV/AIDS "goes hand in hand with the fight for equality" for women and girls, Bond, chair of NAACP, and Brock, vice chair of NAACP, write in a Journal-Constitution opinion piece. African-American women -- who are 23 times as likely to be diagnosed with AIDS as white women -- need increased access to information on HIV prevention, testing options and treatments, the authors write (Bond/Brock, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 12/1).
- Gene Copello, Women's eNews: World AIDS Day is an opportunity to "urge" political leaders to help "shield" women from HIV infection by "reinforcing women's rights, speeding medical research and supporting public-awareness efforts that reach out to the women who are most at risk," Copello, executive director of The AIDS Institute, writes in a Women's eNews opinion piece. The world needs to learn how antiretroviral drugs affect women, determine how best to prevent and treat HIV/AIDS among women and girls and "press" for research on microbicides, Copello says (Copello, Women's eNews, 12/1).
- Kathleen Cravero/Donna Shalala, Miami Herald: The "key to turning the tide" in the fight against HIV/AIDS is "[e]mpowering women and girls to protect themselves and their families from AIDS," Cravero, deputy executive director of UNAIDS and head of the Global Coalition on Women and AIDS, and Shalala, president of the University of Miami and former HHS Secretary, write in a Herald opinion piece. Women in developing nations need more autonomy and control over their lives -- including the freedom to choose marriage, make their own decisions about their sex lives, negotiate condom use, earn adequate incomes and be free of violence -- in order to protect themselves from HIV, the authors write (Cravero/Shalala, Miami Herald, 12/1).
- Vishakha Desai, Long Island Newsday: For Asian women and girls, stereotypes, stigma and discrimination, in addition to poverty and low social status, form a "tragic nexus with HIV infection," Desai, president of the Asia Society, writes in a Newsday opinion piece. To stem the epidemic, the fight against HIV/AIDS must be "attacked culturally, breaking silence, telling the truth, recasting old roles" and must speak to Asian women and girls "until [the culture] values them as worthy of protection and care in their own right, until their voices are heard, and their interests are at the heart of health policy debates," Desai says (Desai, Long Island Newsday, 12/1).
- Douglas Durand, National Post: Although the HIV/AIDS epidemic has "hardly gone away" since the mid-1980s, AIDS activism and art -- which was once "vibrant and innovative" -- has declined in recent years, leaving a "disappointing" silence, Durand, a community arts and AIDS advocate, writes in an opinion piece for Canada's National Post. However, it is still possible to make "profound differences" and "effect positive change in our world" if people could regain their "empathy and conscience" instead of succumbing to the "current global indifference," Durand concludes (Durand, National Post, 12/1).
- Nancy Gordon, Tampa Tribune: Teachers' and parents' approaches to discussing HIV/AIDS prevention with teenagers are "flunking," according to a discussion among Florida high school students and educators, Gordon, a Tribune commentary editor, writes in a Tribune opinion piece. The students discussed their boredom with traditional instruction on HIV/AIDS and "how little they learn at home" about the disease, as well as the pressures they face and a lack of access to testing for sexually transmitted diseases, Gordon says (Gordon, Tampa Tribune, 11/28).
- Rebecca Haag, Boston Globe: Prevention is the "only effective weapon" against HIV/AIDS, but state cuts to programs providing youth education, counseling, testing, housing, nutrition and transportation programs make it difficult to prevent the disease and to care for those who have it, Haag, executive director of the AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts, writes in a Globe opinion piece. If such "short-sighted funding decisions" are not reversed, the number of HIV/AIDS cases in Massachusetts will increase and the state will "pay much more in the long run in lives and money," Haag says (Haag, Boston Globe, 12/1).
- Michael Keefer, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle: Developing a safe and effective vaccine is the way to achieve a "world without HIV," Keefer, associate professor of medicine and director of the HIV vaccine unit at the University of Rochester Medical Center, writes in a Democrat and Chronicle opinion piece. "[M]ore scientific effort" and volunteer participation is needed to reach this "formidable" -- but "not insurmountable" -- goal, Keefer says (Keefer, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, 12/1).
- James Kenny, Irish Independent: The United States is "playing [its] part" in the fight against global HIV/AIDS through international funding and programs, and the rest of the world now needs to "come together in a spirit of dramatically increased commitment" to fight HIV/AIDS, Kenny, U.S. ambassador to Ireland, writes in an Irish Independent opinion piece (Kenny, Irish Independent, 12/1).
- Coretta Scott King, USA Today: People worldwide need to challenge the "ignorance, bigotry and fear" surrounding HIV/AIDS and "acknowledge the widespread misinformation" in the African-American community about the disease, King, widow of civil rights advocate Martin Luther King and founder of The King Center, writes in a USA Today opinion piece. A climate of "openness and education" -- including teaching children about HIV prevention -- is necessary to overcome this obstacle in the "struggle for social equality," King writes (King, USA Today, 12/1).
- Judy Kuriansky, New York Daily News: Women and girls, young people, older adults and minority populations are among the "hidden faces of AIDS," Kuriansky, a clinical psychologist, certified sex therapist and radio call-in talk show host, writes in a Daily News opinion piece. A "spotlight" is "finally" being shown upon women and girls this World AIDS Day, which aims to "raise public awareness in order to spread information rather than infection" because "[a]wareness is the key to prevention," Kuriansky writes (Kuriansky, New York Daily News, 11/29).
- Jay Lee, Dallas Morning News: The HIV/AIDS pandemic "is not ending; it's moving" from sub-Saharan Africa to India, which soon will overtake South Africa as the country with the most HIV-positive people worldwide, Lee, who is conducting community-based research in India as a Hart Fellow, writes in a Morning News opinion piece. Although people cannot personally save HIV-positive individuals in developing nations, they can give time, money, understanding and a voice to the problems in India, Lee says (Lee, Dallas Morning News, 11/30).
- Ruth Levine, Newark Star-Ledger: In the fight against HIV/AIDS, donor funding and public health programs "turn out to be remarkably good investments" for "eliminating, treating or controlling diseases," and national governments and international agencies also can "get the job done," Levine, head of the Center for Global Development's Global Health Policy Research Network, writes in a Star-Ledger opinion piece. A combination of "energy, brains and money" should be used to attain "new and longer funding commitments, a bigger push to get and use information and an effort to create a genuine consensus about what needs to be done," Levine concludes (Levine, Newark Star-Ledger, 12/1).
- Danita Lopez, Seattle Post-Intelligencer: Women in the United States-- especially African-American women -- should talk about safe sex, get tested for HIV and encourage others to be tested in order to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS and "keep HIV awareness alive every day, not just on World AIDS Day," Lopez, a case manager at Lifelong AIDS Alliance -- the Northwest's largest HIV/AIDS organization -- writes in a Post-Intelligencer opinion piece (Lopez, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 12/1).
- Suman Mehta/Nafis Sadik, South China Morning Post: Women need "more control over their lives and relationships" -- including their education, access to health care and economic independence -- to decrease their risk of contracting HIV from older or unfaithful husbands through rape and forced marriage or from a lack of negotiating power over condom use, Mehta -- associate director of UNAIDS for Asia, Pacific and the Middle East -- and Sadik -- U.N. special envoy for HIV/AIDS in Asia and Pacific -- write in a Morning Post opinion piece. A "fundamental shift in the gender balance" worldwide is needed to change laws, traditions and beliefs to help protect women against the "more and more devastating" impact of HIV/AIDS, Mehta and Sadik conclude (Mehta/Sadik, South China Morning Post, 11/30).
- James Morris/Robert Glasser, Australian Financial Review: The "fundamental starting point" in the fight against HIV/AIDS for women in the developing world is "[e]nsuring a healthier life" by providing them with essential resources, such as nutritious food, Morris, executive director of the United Nations World Food Program, and Glasser, executive director of Care Australia, write in a Financial Review opinion piece. Focusing "directly on the needs of women" will help make progress in the "tremendous devastation caused by this killer pandemic," they write (Morris/Glasser, Australian Financial Review, 12/1).
- Andrew Plant, Albany Times Union: Although it should be "celebrat[ed]" that antiretroviral drug therapies "now extend and improve the lives of many people" living with HIV/AIDS, it is "perhaps more crucial" to realize that the disease "has not gone away and is not going away anytime soon," Plant, editor at large of A&U magazine writes in a Times Union opinion piece. The HIV/AIDS pandemic "has been with us far too long, and we have let it become too much an insidiously quiet part of our culture," Plant writes, concluding, "Each of us has the power to change that. To put an end to AIDS. Let's start today" (Plant, Albany Times Union, 12/1).
- Colin Powell, Sacramento Bee: The United States, through the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, is a "leader in shaping the international response" to the HIV/AIDS pandemic, Secretary of State Powell writes in a Bee opinion piece. "The American people have embarked upon a historic mission to turn the tide of HIV/AIDS, and we are working in partnership with governments and communities across the globe to bring hope to the millions of people who are living in the shadow of HIV/AIDS," Powell concludes (Powell, Sacramento Bee, 12/1).
- Ruthann Richter, San Jose Mercury News: Although people living with HIV/AIDS in the United States "benefit from antiretroviral therapy, most in Africa languish and die," Richter, director of media relations at Stanford University School of Medicine writes in a Mercury News opinion piece. Of the estimated 25 million HIV-positive people in sub-Saharan Africa, less than 1% have access to antiretroviral drugs, while the United States "continues to pursue a go-it-alone AIDS policy that hurts, rather than helps, the African cause," Richter says, concluding, "Surely we can do better" (Richter, San Jose Mercury News, 12/1).
- Solomon Sacco, Beirut Daily Star: Although HIV/AIDS prevalence in the Middle East and North Africa is "much lower" than in sub-Saharan Africa, the disease is "poised as the next disaster," Sacco, an attorney and program consultant for the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, writes in a Daily Star opinion piece. An HIV/AIDS epidemic can be "averted" in the region if governments and people are "willing to learn from the mistakes of sub-Saharan Africa" because it is "ignorance that may allow the disease to grow to epidemic proportions in MENA," Sacco concludes (Sacco, Daily Star, 12/1).
- Nick Schulz, Los Angeles Times: Although HIV/AIDS has "transformed from a death sentence into a chronic, manageable condition" in the developed world, "it's not clear that this is such a good thing," Schulz, editor of TechCentralStation.com, writes in a Times opinion piece. However, HIV/AIDS still "devastates the impoverished corners of the globe" and might become the next "tragic victory in global health" if the developed world ignores the pandemic, Schulz says (Schulz, Los Angeles Times, 11/30).
- Katherine Thoeni, Monterey County Herald: "Around the globe, women and girls are particularly vulnerable to HIV infection and to the impact of AIDS," Thoeni, executive director of the John XXIII AIDS Ministry, writes in a Herald opinion piece. The "face of HIV/AIDS in the United States is increasingly likely to be a woman's face," Thoeni writes, concluding that women at risk of HIV infection "need access to information and education about prevention" while women living with HIV/AIDS "need compassionate, affordable and effective treatment" (Thoeni, Monterey County Herald, 12/1).
- Randall Tobias/Peter Piot, Houston Chronicle: Although funding for the fight against HIV/AIDS in developing countries has almost tripled over the past three years, "much more remains to be done in 2005," Tobias, head of the State Department's Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator, and UNAIDS Executive Director Peter Piot write in a Chronicle opinion piece. "When we gather next December, let's ensure that we will have more effectively translated our opportunities into concrete progress, our good intentions into concerted action -- where it matters most -- in villages and communities all over the world," Tobias and Piot conclude (Tobias/Piot, Houston Chronicle, 11/30).
- Marjorie Valbrun, Baltimore Sun: The "larger black community should come together to combat" the phenomenon of black men who have sex with men "on the down low," Valbrun, an editorial writer, says in a Sun opinion piece. "Black women should not be fighting this battle alone," Valbrun writes, concluding, "Ministers and other symbolic black leaders should be standing with them. If not, the women will have to handle it on their own or die trying" (Valbrun, Baltimore Sun, 12/1).
- Rian van de Braak and David Veazey, Moscow Times: Although the United States "cannot be accused of ignoring the HIV/AIDS epidemic" in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, the "ABC" prevention method -- the "core" of the U.S. approach -- is a "simplistic device that may work well for politicians and op-ed pages but does not work as well when faced with more complex challenges on the ground," van de Braak and Veazey of AIDS Foundation East-West write in a Times opinion piece. One of the "greatest contributions that the United States can make in Eastern Europe, Central Asia and the world is to share its experience of largely overcoming [taboos] and making the HIV/AIDS epidemic a manageable and fairly predictable, if permanent, part of American life," the authors conclude (van de Braak/Veazey, Moscow Times, 12/1).
- Arthur Webb, New York Daily News: "We are still hampered by a belief that HIV is something that affects only younger people," despite the "potential risk among older adults," Webb, president and CEO of Village Care of New York, writes in a Daily News opinion piece. "No longer can we afford to accept stereotypes of older people that ignore the fact that many engage in risky behavior such as unprotected sex and injecting drugs," Webb writes, concluding, "People older than 50 need to be included in intervention and education efforts, or we will see the epidemic explode in this age category" (Webb, New York Daily News, 12/1).
- Michael Wooldridge, Australian: Although HIV/AIDS prevention is "still an important part of our battle," it is "within the context of access to existing treatments and the availability of new ones," former Australian Health Minister Wooldridge writes in an Australian opinion piece. The "ultimate prize" in the fight against the HIV/AIDS pandemic will be the "discovery of an effective vaccine," Wooldridge writes, concluding, "The reality is, without a vaccine, the disease will continue to spread and most new victims are likely to be living in Asia" (Wooldridge, Australian, 12/1).
- Gail Wyatt and Russell Bennett, San Diego Union-Tribune: The "mistaken beliefs" that antiretroviral drug therapies have "cured" HIV/AIDS and that the "crisis is now half a world away have obscured the reality that infections in the United States, especially among minorities, have continued to rise," Wyatt, associate director of the University of California-Los Angeles AIDS Institute, and Bennett, head of PacifiCare's Latino Health Solutions Division, write in a Union-Tribune opinion piece. "Honest talk about sex in the context of the groups most affected is one way we can begin moving toward more successful prevention methods. We have to make the battle against AIDS on the home front just as important as the one overseas," the authors conclude (Wyatt/Bennett, San Diego Union-Tribune, 12/1).
- Princess Kasune Zulu, Toronto Star: To combat HIV/AIDS "successfully and to protect girls, who are the most vulnerable to infection, the debate has to be broadened to tackle the issues of gender inequality, harmful cultural practice, bad inheritance laws, discrimination and sexual violence," HIV/AIDS advocate Zulu writes in a Star opinion piece. "These are the threats which millions of girls face. Without tackling them, interventions based purely on promoting abstinence, faithfulness and condom use are simply irrelevant" Zulu concludes (Zulu, Toronto Star, 12/1).
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