U.S, Allies’ War Costs Harming HIV/AIDS Fight; G8 Failing To Deliver Gleneagles Promises, U.N. Special Envoy Lewis Says
Spending on wars in Afghanistan and Iraq by the U.S. and its allies is weakening the global fight against HIV/AIDS, and the Group of Eight industrialized nations is not fulfilling commitments it made at the 2005 summit in Gleneagles, Scotland, U.N. Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa Stephen Lewis said on Sunday during a three-day visit to Malawi, Reuters reports. "These things of peace and security must be dealt with," Lewis said, adding, "But when you have got a pandemic which has already taken 25 million lives and has gripped 40 million others, the world has to understand that human priorities cannot be sacrificed in the obsession with conflict." He cited a Congressional Research Service report that said the U.S. is spending $8 billion and $1.5 billion per month on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, respectively, adding that the HIV/AIDS pandemic is "a lot more important" than those wars or "nuclear worries from Iran and North Korea." According to Lewis, "It's clear that Gleneagles ... [is] not going to happen, and the commitments made by the G8 as always are being betrayed right in the aftermath" (Reuters, 10/31). Lewis also pointed to recent statements from the South African government as representing a "major change in government policy" on HIV/AIDS (AFP/Yahoo! News, 10/31). Lewis was in Malawi to receive an award for contributing to orphan care in the country (Reuters, 10/31).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.