South Africa Must Be Open About HIV/AIDS To Be Successful in Fight, Opinion Piece Says
South Africans will continue to face a "major barrier" to the success of the country's national HIV/AIDS program "if we cannot be open about AIDS," Alizanne Collier, a founding member of Right to Care and program manager for the Program on the Social and Economic Impacts of the AIDS Epidemic at Boston University's School of Public Health, writes in a Boston Globe opinion piece. Although South Africa has the "promising beginnings" of an effective fight against HIV/AIDS, "there is no clear indication that the crisis has changed the outlook of the average South African," who continues to believe that HIV/AIDS "only happens to other people," she says, adding, "That is why ex-president Mandela's announcement that his son died of AIDS was so important." People need to "be brave enough to confront the illness, go for voluntary counseling and testing and get treatment," Collier says. An open approach to HIV/AIDS would allow improved access to safe sex information and encourage testing and treatment, which would "facilitate the emotional support needed by all those affected and infected," according to Collier. "Only if we are open can we transform AIDS into the kind of normal illness that people can understand, live with and prevent," she concludes (Collier, Boston Globe, 2/24).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.