U.N. Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa Seen as Influential But Thinks His Contribution Is ‘Limited,’ Opinion Piece Says
Although U.N. Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa Stephen Lewis last month was named by Time magazine as one of the world's 100 most influential people, he is starting to "question whether he is having any influence on easing what he calls 'the human carnage' of AIDS," Toronto Star editorial page editor Bob Hepburn writes in a Star opinion piece. Since 2001, Lewis has "traveled the world trying to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS in his beloved Africa ... and to help in large and small ways in getting drugs, diagnostic equipment and medical supplies and staff to stricken areas," according to Hepburn. Although Lewis says the position has been useful "in terms of focusing international attention on the issue," Lewis adds that he has made "a pretty limited contribution" to the fight against the disease, Hepburn writes. Lewis says he is "often tempted to step back" from his position and "really go after" problems facing the United Nations, which he believes "holds the key to progress" in the HIV/AIDS fight, but Lewis adds, "On the other hand, you just don't want to give up," Hepburn writes. Lewis -- a native of Canada -- said he would like to remain in his position until August 2006, when Toronto hosts the XVI International AIDS Conference, but the fight against the disease "will be far from over," Hepburn says (Hepburn, Toronto Star, 5/14).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.