Governments, International Organizations, Private Sector Must Overcome Stigma, Denial of HIV/AIDS, Opinion Piece Says
"The only hope we have to start winning the war against AIDS is to have a clear and consistent message to overcome stigma and dismantle denial" of the disease, Richard Holbrooke, president of the Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS and former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, writes in a Toronto Globe and Mail opinion piece. According to Holbrooke, "ignoring the problem" of HIV/AIDS "will only make it worse" and international society must be mobilized to provide "proven, effective interventions" to "stop this disease." These interventions include expanding HIV testing; reaching a global "consensus on the use of condoms" to prevent HIV transmission; developing and providing antiretroviral drugs "that work well if appropriately prescribed and adhered to"; and "rolling out" HIV/AIDS treatment programs in the developing world. The "massive effort" required to fight the pandemic "must be led by governments and international organizations, such as [the World Health Organization], UNAIDS and the Global Fund To Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria," Holbrooke writes, adding that there also is a "huge potential role" for the GBC to "fill [the] gap" in the fight against HIV/AIDS. "Let us hope" the XVI International AIDS Conference, which will be held Aug. 13 through Aug. 18 in Toronto, "is a wake-up call that AIDS is more than the worst health crisis in history ... [I]t is also a direct threat to the economic, social and political development and stability of many nations on every continent except North America," Holbrooke writes (Holbrooke, Toronto Globe and Mail, 8/8).
The XVI International AIDS Conference program is available online.
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