U.S., Russia, G8 Must Promote Proven Strategies To Prevent HIV, Opinion Piece Says
To "turn back" the "wave of the AIDS pandemic, the United States, Russia and other G8 countries must promote HIV prevention strategies proven to work -- all of them," Josiah Rich, a professor of medicine and community health at Brown University and an adviser to the Health Action AIDS Campaign of Physicians for Human Rights, writes in a Sacramento Bee opinion piece. While HIV is "sweeping nearly unchecked through Eastern Europe and Asia as huge numbers of injection drug users contract" the virus, "preventing AIDS among drug users is controversial," and needle-exchange programs, "while endorsed by nearly every major U.S. medical association," are "neither funded nor endorsed by the U.S. government or its AIDS programs," according to Rich. The HIV/AIDS pandemic is a "global human rights problem," and as such, "[s]olutions based on scientific research must be implemented without bias, discrimination, or dilution," Rich writes. "Access to clean needles and to heroin-addiction treatment does not always fall along obvious ideological lines," Rich writes, adding that "[l]imiting access to any successful HIV-prevention method is not consistent with medical and public health ethics, nor is it likely to curb the spread of HIV." According to Rich, "The global HIV/AIDS pandemic cannot be contained, let alone reversed, unless governments and other supporters pay heed to the lessons of more than two decades of prevention and treatment" (Rich, Sacramento Bee, 7/28).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.