Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report Highlights Editorials, Opinion Pieces Addressing HIV/AIDS
Several newspapers recently published HIV/AIDS-related editorials and opinion pieces. Summaries appear below.
Los Angeles Times: "[I]t's time to end [the] nonsens[ical]" notion that people in Africa cannot follow a "strict AIDS drug regimen," particularly after a recent Journal of the American Medical Association study shows that 55% of North Americans adhere to their HIV/AIDS medication regimens as prescribed, compared with 77% of sub-Saharan Africans, a Times editorial says. "[M]ajor donor countries," including the U.S., must continue to increase their financial and administrative assistance to developing countries to ensure that the number of HIV-positive Africans with access to HIV/AIDS treatments continues to rise, the editorial adds (Los Angeles Times, 8/14).
- Chris Beyrer, Voravit Suwanvanichkij, New York Times: It is "troubling" that the U.S. requires all foreign and domestic HIV/AIDS funding recipients to "pledge to oppose prostitution," as efforts targeting the sex industry "have been shown to decrease the spread of the epidemic through sexual intercourse [while] the pledge policy can make no such claim," Beyrer, a medical epidemiologist and director of the Center for Public Health and Human Rights at Johns Hopkins University, and Suwanvanichkij, a physician in Thailand and a faculty member of Johns Hopkins, write in a Times opinion piece. For example, Thailand's 100% Condom Campaign -- which targets the commercial sex industry and promotes and distributes condoms, as well as provides education -- has worked by reducing the number of new HIV cases among army recruits, pregnant women and others, the authors write. According to Beyrer and Suwanvanichkij, "HIV policy should be driven by only what's been shown to work, and prevention services have to reach those most at risk, whether or not we condone their behavior" (Beyrer/Suwanvanichkij, New York Times, 8/12).
- Alan Brody, New York Times: HIV policies "imported from the West haven't helped to encourage widespread testing" for the virus in Swaziland, and, "[n]ot surprisingly, the ignorance and stigma that grew up around AIDS in the West made its leap to Africa," Brody, a former UNICEF representative in Swaziland, writes in a Times opinion piece. However, with efforts to create a "new understanding" of HIV prevention and community refuges for orphaned children and with the continent's "energy and creativity and spirit of ... humanity," Africa "will survive," Brody writes (Brody, New York Times, 8/12).
- Julian Bond, Washington Post: "All of black America" must put the issue of HIV/AIDS in the black community "at the top of the national agenda," just as a "historic contingent of black leaders" is expected to do at the XVI International AIDS Conference in Toronto, Bond, chair of the board of NAACP, writes in a Post opinion piece. Bond calls on the black community to "eliminate ... rabid homophobia," surpass "resistance to safer sex practices," pressure governments to "be far more responsible partners than they have been" in curbing the spread of HIV and get screened for HIV (Bond, Washington Post, 8/14).
- Holly Burkhalter, Washington Post: Ending the HIV/AIDS pandemic in Africa "requires a ... radical proposition": addressing rape as a risk factor for HIV for "tens of millions of African women and children," Burkhalter, vice president of International Justice Mission, writes in a Post opinion piece. Burkhalter says confronting the problem "requires something more than condoms, education or 'empowerment,'" and she calls on conference attendees to "commit the funding, ideas, technical support and personnel" to improve African judicial systems, which is the "next frontier in confronting the pandemic and preventing its spread" (Burkhalter, Washington Post, 8/14).