Washington Post Letters to Editor Criticize Dec. 1 Editorial
The Washington Post on Wednesday published two letters to the editor in response to a Dec. 1 Post editorial marking World AIDS Day. The editorial said that the decision to focus on women and girls during World AIDS Day may "turn out to be an error." The editorial said that prevention efforts instead should be on "high-risk groups" -- including injection drug users, commercial sex workers and men who have unprotected sex with men -- who are most at risk for contracting HIV and most likely to spread the disease (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 12/1). Summaries of the letters appear below:
- Ruth Cecire, Washington Post: The Post editorial seemed "curiously insensitive" to what some people call the "greatest human rights challenge of our time," Cecire, a policy analyst with the National Center for Ethics in Health Care, writes. Assuming that women cannot be empowered "implicitly supports the status quo view that sexism is endemic and unchangeable," Cecire says. Instead, people should work for social change and greater gender equity in education and health care, which -- according to studies -- are the "most effective antidote to HIV/AIDS," Cecire concludes (Cecire, Washington Post, 12/8).
- Jodi Jacobson, Washington Post: The Post editorial "ignored the reality" that women and girls are in fact the "high-risk group" in many countries worldwide, Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Health and Gender Equity, writes. Developing countries need "comprehensive prevention strategies" that include needle-exchange programs and the empowerment of commercial sex workers -- not just abstinence-only programs -- to "change the course of this epidemic," Jacobson says (Jacobson, Washington Post, 12/8).