Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report Summarizes Editorials, Opinion Pieces Related to AIDS Conference
Several newspapers have published editorials and opinion pieces in observance of the XVI International AIDS Conference, held through Aug. 18 in Toronto. Summaries appear below.
- Derrick Jackson, Boston Globe: "The story of AIDS in America is mostly one of a failure to lead, and nowhere is that truer than in our black communities," Julian Bond, NAACP chair, said at the conference, columnist Jackson writes in a Globe opinion piece. Blacks are 12.3% of the population and represent 61% of HIV-positive people under age 25, Jackson writes, adding that the "[i]naction has been devastating" (Jackson, Boston Globe, 8/16).
- Roger England, Financial Times: "In 2004, 21% of all health aid was allocated to HIV," and the funding now could "easily exceed one-quarter of all health aid," England, founder and director of HLSP, writes in a Financial Times opinion piece. He writes that HIV interventions are "probably not" so cost-effective to "justify the disproportionate" funding. England says two changes are needed to "achieve results" in Africa: "There must be country mechanisms integrating all health funding and allocating it where it will do most good," and the "structure of aid" must be reformed (England, Financial Times, 8/15).
Montreal Gazette: The decision on the part of Mark Wainberg -- co-chair of the AIDS conference and director of the McGill University AIDS Centre -- to "denounce" Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper for not attending the AIDS conference is a "classic case of misplaced priorities," according to a Gazette editorial. Instead, he should have commented on "Canada's failures on AIDS" -- including problems associated with a law aimed at "get[ting] large quantities" of generic antiretroviral drugs to Africa, the editorial says. "Canada's real failure in a world blighted by AIDS is not Harper's travel schedule but our national inability to do more than talk about the global AIDS crisis," the editorial concludes (Montreal Gazette, 8/15).
- Mark Wainberg, Montreal Gazette: The U.S. is "woefully underrepresented" at the AIDS conference, which is unfortunate because the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief "has probably done more" to assist HIV-positive people worldwide than "any other program of its type," Wainberg says in a Gazette opinion piece. According to Wainberg, "At a time when opinion polls around the world reveal a sustained unease with U.S. foreign policy," the Bush administration's restriction on funding to send U.S. participants to the conference is a "squandered opportunity to highlight U.S. leadership" in the fight against HIV/AIDS (Wainberg, Montreal Gazette, 8/15).
- Kate Heartfield, Ottawa Citizen: HIV prevalence among "African and Caribbean populations is rising in Ottawa and across the province," columnist Heartfield writes in a Citizen opinion piece, adding that it is alarming because "no one seems to be quite sure why it's happening or how to help." According to Heartfield, "Ottawa's public health department and social services have a duty to reverse the HIV epidemic" in Ottawa, but it is "up to African and Caribbean residents to tell those agencies how best to do that" (Heartfield, Ottawa Citizen, 8/15).
Toronto Star: Preventing HIV/AIDS is "loom[ing] large" as a problem even bigger than providing antiretroviral drugs to "desperate people in the developing world," according to a Star editorial. Twenty-five years "after HIV first came to light, global infection rates continue to climb," the editorial says, adding that Canada "should heed" calls to expand funding "to help developing nations deliver new prevention tools, train health care workers and conduct public education campaigns" (Toronto Star, 8/16).
- Ibrahim Mohammed and Mark Dybul, Toronto Star: "[O]nly a comprehensive, public health approach will turn the tide against HIV/AIDS" Mohammed, director of Kenya's National AIDS/STI Control Program, and Dybul, ambassador for the Office of the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator, write in a Star opinion piece. The strategy Kenya is using is "rooted in 'ABC': abstain, be faithful, and the correct and consistent use of condoms," Mohammed and Dybul say in the piece, adding, "It also respects local culture -- ABC was developed in Africa, not in North America." According to Mohammed and Dybul, the "U.S. government supports" the use of ABC as a public health approach "throughout the world," but, in generalized epidemics, "other interventions, in addition to ABC, are needed" (Mohammed/Dybul, Toronto Star, 8/16).
- Salt Lake Tribune: "The world's richest man," Bill Gates, co-founder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, "knows that the future of the planet depends on the world's poorest women," a Tribune editorial says. The editorial agrees with Gates, who said that the world needs to "put the power to prevent HIV in the hands of women" whether she is a "married mother of small children or a sex worker" (Salt Lake Tribune, 8/15).
- Carol Goar, Toronto Star: Goar, a Star columnist, examines a project by the International Development Research Centre, a Canadian organization, which has been helping researchers in South Africa create an AIDS program that is "equitable, affordable and responsive to patients' needs." According to Goar, IDRC "helped nurses upgrade their skills" and made HIV-positive people "undergo counseling to make sure they understood the infection and the importance of following their drug regimen." Although "[n]o one is calling the project a resounding success -- yet," Goar says that "Canada could learn a thing or two from this modest experiment" (Goar, Toronto Star, 8/16).