Antiretroviral Drugs in Asia Might Allow Region To Escape ‘Fate of Africa,’ But More Education Needed, Opinion Piece Says
The "growing availability" of antiretroviral drugs in Asia might mean that the region could avoid the "fate of Africa" in the HIV/AIDS pandemic, but "challenges still exist," Stephen Majors, a Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism student who has studied HIV/AIDS in Africa and Asia, writes in a Chicago Tribune opinion piece. The continent might be "unprepared" for a "dramatic increase" in HIV/AIDS treatments because of "pervasive stigmas, uneducated communities and patchy health care infrastructures," according to Majors. The World Health Organization's 3 by 5 Initiative -- which aims to treat three million HIV-positive people in developing countries with antiretroviral drugs by 2005 -- might "overloo[k] the importance of HIV education among patients, health care workers and doctors" while trying to "push to meet" its goals, Majors says. The "pressure" of a global HIV/AIDS campaign could succeed in treating increased numbers of HIV patients, but "the call must place the human elements of preparation and education alongside the rallying points of goals and numbers," Majors says, concluding, "This effort is crucial in preventing Asia from becoming the next continent with an uncontrollable AIDS epidemic" (Majors, Chicago Tribune, 12/19).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.