HIV/AIDS, Other Infectious Diseases Can Be Controlled With Proper Investment, Global Fund Director Says
The HIV/AIDS pandemic -- "the greatest catastrophe in human history measured in lives lost" -- and the "scourges" of tuberculosis and malaria "can actually be brought under control" by "doing the right things on a large scale," Richard Feachem, executive director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, writes in a Toronto Star opinion piece. Although "we are beginning to see a difference" in the fight against HIV/AIDS because of money and technical assistance from the Global Fund, the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and other major sources, the world has "not yet reached critical mass" of funding, or nearly $14 billion annually, needed to fight HIV/AIDS, Feachem says. "Such sums will only be raised if we think boldly and think big," he continues. The "outpouring of support for the victims" of the December 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami shows that "the world is willing and able to mobilize together," and world leaders "should be encouraged by this public support for humanitarian action to make bold decisions," Feachem says. "If we act now" against the HIV/AIDS pandemic, 10 million AIDS-related deaths and 29 million new HIV cases could be prevented by 2020, which would translate into "health-systems savings by that date of several billion dollars a year," Feachem says, concluding, "We have the tools. We have the means. Do we really have a choice?" (Feachem, Toronto Star, 2/8).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.