Botswana Represents Successes, Challenges Ahead for HIV/AIDS Fight in Developing Countries, Editorial Says
Botswana -- which has one of the "most extensive and successful AIDS treatment programs in Africa" -- presents not only "hope that the despair AIDS has brought to Africa can be relieved" but also "stark signs of the challenges ahead," a Chicago Tribune editorial says. In 2002, Botswana began the first government program in Africa to provide antiretroviral drugs at no cost, and about 40% of people who needed the drugs -- about 38,000 Batswana -- were receiving them as of December 2004, according to the editorial. However, the question remains whether Botswana "will be able to bear the burden of its own success," the editorial says. Botswanan officials say that the stigma surrounding the disease keeps many people from undergoing HIV testing or seeking treatment, according to the editorial. Botswana and other countries with similar HIV/AIDS-related issues will need "billions of dollars in aid for the foreseeable future" in order to "maintain survivors on costly medication," the Tribune says. Therefore, while "[i]mproved medical treatment of HIV/AIDS is a critical breakthrough ... prevention of the disease remains the key to success -- in Africa, in the U.S. and everywhere else," the editorial says (Chicago Tribune, 4/8).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.