HIV/AIDS Brought Global Health Into ‘Sharp Focus,’ Opinion Piece Says
The "catastrophic health status" of many developing countries "has been brought into sharp focus" through the "lens of the HIV/AIDS epidemic," Anthony Fauci, director of NIH's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, writes in a Washington Times opinion piece. According to Fauci, "keen interest" in HIV/AIDS in the developed world was "initially spurred by self-interest in controlling the disease at home," and efforts to address HIV/AIDS in developing countries "almost accidentally brought attention to other equally devastating diseases that coexist with HIV/AIDS." Although developed nations sometimes have "a short attention span" and "humanitarian concerns alone have not historically triggered a sustained effort to address what often seem insurmountable problems," the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and the Global Fund To Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria along with other global health efforts have "'raised the bar' with regard to the role of developed nations in global health," Fauci writes. He adds that the "goal of a healthier world requires a multifaceted effort" from many sources -- including governments, foundations, the public health community, the media, nongovernmental agencies and individuals -- and that this goal must be approached "in many ways," including by alleviating poverty and providing clean food and water; preventing the spread of malaria by distributing mosquito nets; empowering women to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted infections, including HIV; implementing disease surveillance systems; conducting drug research and testing new vaccines; and delivering basic health care in all countries. "We have made important strides in the fight against HIV/AIDS and other important global diseases, but the real work of solving global health problems lies ahead," Fauci writes, concluding, "It is imperative we use our current momentum to move forward, recognizing that the enormous challenges of global health will require a long-term commitment sustained even when global health and those fighting to improve it are no longer in the headlines" (Fauci, Washington Times, 12/10).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.