U.S. Faces ‘Ocean of Need’ in Combating HIV/AIDS in Africa, Opinion Piece Says
Global efforts to treat HIV-positive people in Africa have increased "massively," but there is still "an ocean of need," Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson writes in an opinion piece. According to Gerson, the U.S. has taken an "undeniable ... leadership" role in providing funding for HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment, but even countries that have reduced new infections remain "overwhelmed by the demand for treatment." About 25% of people who need antiretroviral drugs in sub-Saharan Africa are receiving them, Gerson notes.
According to Gerson, there is "no doubt" that, "short of an effective" HIV/AIDS vaccine, prevention is the long-term solution to the HIV/AIDS pandemic; however, HIV prevention "depends largely on changed sexual behavior, which is much more complicated than an operation or a pill." Increasing HIV testing "is difficult to promote if AIDS is a death sentence," Gerson writes, adding, "Treatment and prevention, in the end, cannot be separated." The "goal" of universal access to treatment seems "morally unavoidable," Gerson writes, adding that defeating HIV/AIDS will require "major new efforts in prevention" and "moving toward universal treatment" (Gerson, Washington Post, 10/3).