Public-Private Partnerships, Safe Blood Supplies ‘Best Weapons’ Against Spread of HIV in Developing Nations, Opinion Piece Says
Public-private partnerships that address the "pressing need" for safe blood supplies in developing countries are "our best weapons" against the spread of HIV/AIDS, former Rep. Benjamin Gilman (R-N.Y.) -- who previously headed the House International Relations committee and currently is president of the Washington, D.C.-based Gilman Group -- writes in an Augusta Chronicle opinion piece. While safe blood programs in sub-Saharan Africa have "give[n] a reprieve to hundreds of thousands of AIDS patients," similar programs are "urgently needed" in China, India and Russia -- the "next areas of widespread contagion," Gilman says. In China, where the HIV/AIDS pandemic has "taken root and is growing quickly," officials estimate that almost 30% of new HIV infections are the result of blood transfusions with tainted blood, according to Gilman. Transfusions with HIV-tainted blood also account for 10% of new infections in India and more than 10% in Russia, Gilman says. However, "we aren't helpless in the face of these looming catastrophes" because "much of this suffering can be stopped by well-conceived prevention programs," according to Gilman. Partnerships between government agencies, not-for-profit organizations, businesses and foundations that create safe blood programs, prevention initiatives and public education and awareness campaigns are the "most effective way" to "get the best results possible," Gilman writes, concluding, "As a basic human right, everyone deserves to live a productive life free of the scourge of AIDS" (Gilman, Augusta Chronicle, 12/2).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.