Availability of Antiretrovirals Not Enough To Fight HIV/AIDS, Opinion Piece Says
Although former President Clinton and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation co-founders Bill and Melinda Gates were "so optimistic" during the XVI International AIDS Conference in Toronto about the "small triumphs" in the struggle against HIV/AIDS, the reality is that efforts to combat the disease "will not have an end," physician Abigail Zuger writes in a New York Times opinion piece. Delivering antiretroviral drugs to those who need them is "just the beginning," Zuger writes, adding, "Once they are bought and dispensed, the work only gets harder." Aside from drug "[s]ide effects and failures," health care systems can be another obstacle to controlling the disease, according to Zuger. "It takes a real health care system to treat even a single illness," Zuger writes, adding, "AIDS drugs given without one are, in the end, just very expensive scaffolding. All they do is let people live long enough to need everything else." She concludes, "Can Mr. Gates' billions really begin to pay for a new world? That's what it will take for his happy ending" (Zuger, New York Times, 8/22).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.