Fight Against HIV/AIDS Pandemic Requires Commitment From Political Leaders, All Members of Society, Annan Writes in Opinion Piece
"In the 25 years since the first case was reported," HIV/AIDS has "changed the world" and "become the greatest challenge of our generation," U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan writes in a USA Today opinion piece. "For far too long, the world was in denial" about the HIV/AIDS pandemic, Annan writes, adding, "But over the past 10 years, attitudes have changed," and the "world has started to take the fight against AIDS as seriously as it deserves." According to Annan, monetary "resources are being committed as never before, people have access to antiretroviral treatment as never before, and several countries are managing to fight the spread as never before." He adds, "Now, as the number of new infections continues unabated, we need to mobilize political will as never before." Although the Global Fund To Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria recently has "seen significant additional funding from bilateral donors, national treasuries, civil society and other sources," a great deal more "is needed," Annan writes, adding that by 2010, "total needs for comprehensive AIDS response will exceed $20 billion" annually. According to Annan, the "challenge now is to deliver on all the promises that governments have made," while leaders "must hold themselves accountable -- and be held accountable by all of us." Accountability -- the theme of this year's World AIDS Day on Dec. 1 -- "requires every president and prime minister" to "strengthen protection for all vulnerable groups" and to "work hand in hand with civil society groups," Annan writes, adding that it also requires leaders to "work for real, positive change that will transform relations between men and women at all levels of society." In addition, accountability "requires every one of us to help bring AIDS out of the shadows and spread the message that silence is death," according to Annan. "On this World AIDS Day, let us vow to keep the promise -- not only this day, or this year, or next year -- but every day, until the epidemic is conquered," Annan concludes (Annan, USA Today, 11/29).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.