U.S. Funding to Fight HIV/AIDS in Africa is ‘Fortunate’ But Has ‘Overshadowed’ Domestic Needs, Opinion Piece Says
Although it is "fortunate that the United States has finally recognized the disastrous implications" of HIV/AIDS worldwide, "federal funding for AIDS in Africa has overshadowed the need for continued prevention and care resources" to address the epidemic in the United States, Lisa Kaplowitz, deputy commissioner for emergency response at the Virginia Department of Health, writes in a Richmond Times-Dispatch opinion piece. An "incredible amount" of progress has been made in the fight against HIV/AIDS since the first reports of the disease 23 years ago, but challenges remain "to fully control" the spread of HIV, and a successful vaccine is "at best many years away," Kaplowitz writes. While the mortality rate among HIV-positive people is decreasing in the United States, both the number of new HIV cases and cost of treatment are increasing, which has "disproportionately" affected people of color, especially women of color, Kaplowitz says. Therefore, identification, treatment and counseling of HIV-positive people, as well as prevention education among young people and adults, remain "key" elements to preventing the further spread of HIV, according to Kaplowitz. "Clearly we could be doing a better job with prevention of HIV infection," Kaplowitz writes, concluding that we "must recognize that HIV infection remains a major health and public health problem in this country -- not only in Africa and other parts of the world" (Kaplowitz, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 1/30).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.