Editorials, Opinion Pieces Respond to World AIDS Day
Several newspapers published editorials and opinion pieces in response to World AIDS Day. Summaries appear below.
Baltimore Sun: Although the HIV/AIDS pandemic "may be leveling off," the number of cases in the U.S. "remains stubbornly constant," yet federal spending for the "home-front battle has dropped in recent years," a Sun editorial says. It adds that there is a "need for greater financial resources" in the U.S., where the battle must be waged "more fiercely than ever" (Baltimore Sun, 11/30).
- Charleston Post and Courier: "As modern medicine prolongs the useful lives" of people living with HIV/AIDS, the number of people living with the disease "worldwide will probably continue to rise in the near future," a Post and Courier editorial says. It adds, "This is no time to let up on the anti-AIDS public health efforts that appear, at last, to be having a positive effect" (Charleston Post and Courier, 11/28).
San Francisco Chronicle: "Decades into the AIDS plague, the answers are ready if the will can be found," a Chronicle editorial says, adding that, "Education and prevention -- including wider testing -- should be adopted to catch infection early." According to the editorial, a "ban on federal money for needle exchange programs should be lifted." Dec. 1 "marks the 20th World AIDS Day, one of those calendar markings that sounds contrived," the editorial says, adding, "But with the deadly -- and avoidable -- numbers heading in new directions, it's a moment to mark. The fight is nowhere near over" (San Francisco Chronicle, 11/30).
Times of Zambia: Some "ambitious programs" in Zambia to provide HIV/AIDS care and support "have been set in motion, and it is from this background that renewed hope has been given," a Times editorial says. It adds that World AIDS Day should "be an opportunity for all to reflect" on how to strengthen these programs for a "more effective fight" against HIV/AIDS (Times of Zambia, 11/29).
- Sam Ho, Arizona Daily Star: Although HIV-positive people are "living longer and stronger lives" because of "improved drugs, proper care and treatment," a "dangerous trend is emerging" in the increase of HIV cases among women and children, Ho, a physician, writes in a Daily Star opinion piece (Ho, Arizona Daily Star, 11/29).
- Misty Novitch, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: "Despite the good news that the AIDS pandemic appears to have peaked, more than two million people with AIDS died last year," and tuberculosis was the "biggest cause of deaths," RESULTS and One Campaign volunteer Novitch writes in a Journal-Constitution opinion piece. According to Novitch, this "catastrophe" can be "avoided if wealthy nations of the world step forward and provide the funding needed for the Global Plan To Stop TB" (Novitch, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 11/30).
- George Curry, Birmingham Times: As the global community marks World AIDS Day, "no one should overlook the devastating toll the deadly disease had taken" on the black community in the U.S., Curry, former editor-in-chief of Emerge magazine and the NNPA News Service, writes in a Times opinion piece. To address the issue, blacks "should eliminate risky sexual behavior," Curry writes, adding that policymakers also should take into account recommendations included in a report released earlier this year by the Open Society Institute (Curry, Birmingham Times, 11/29).
- Michael Klag, Baltimore Sun: Although U.S. residents "should be proud of what [their] country has achieved in the fight against AIDS," they also should be "improving [their] efforts" in the fight against the disease to ensure that the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief is "as efficient and effective as possible," Klag, dean of the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, writes in a Sun opinion piece. He adds that with PEPFAR, the U.S. and President Bush have "decided to do something very generous. Now, let's do it right" (Klag, Baltimore Sun, 11/29).
- Ban Ki-moon, China Daily: The world "will never get ahead" of the HIV/AIDS pandemic without leadership, which is the theme of this year's World AIDS Day, U.N. Secretary-General Ban writes in a China Daily opinion piece. Ban calls for leadership in "eradicating stigma associated with HIV," leadership among governments understanding their epidemic "so that resources go where they are most needed," and "leadership at all levels to step up the work to scale up towards universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support by 2010 -- as pledged by all governments last year" (Ban, China Daily, 11/30).
- Joyce Gordon and David Djaelani Gordon, Jakarta Post: "Young people represent a huge percentage of the driving force behind" the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Indonesia, but "truly youth-driven initiatives fall short in comparison with the HIV prevalence of the country's young people," Joyce Gordon and David Djaelani Gordon -- the directors of the group YAKITA -- write in a Post opinion piece. Young people "possess a voice that reaches where no other ... voice can reach," the authors write, adding that there needs to be a "committed resolution to today's youth so that they -- as a collective population -- can kindle the kind of strength needed to challenge, to subdue and then to minimize the spread" of HIV (Gordon/Gordon, Jakarta Post, 11/28).
- Thoraya Ahmed Obaid, Rwanda's New Times: Although the number of people living with HIV/AIDS worldwide has "leveled off" and the number of new HIV cases has decreased, "[n]ow is the time to strengthen prevention efforts and reduce the impact" of HIV/AIDS, Obaid, executive director of the United Nations Fund for Population Activities, writes in a Times opinion piece. "HIV prevention remains the first line of defense and must be accelerated alongside treatment," Obaid said, adding, "Together, we must take action towards universal access to prevention, treatment and care" (Obaid, New Times, 11/30).
- Christopher Elias and M. D'Arcy Richardson, Seattle Post-Intelligencer: The fact that few people with tuberculosis worldwide are being tested for HIV and "even fewer people with HIV are screened for TB" represents a "colossal failure of policy, health systems and science," PATH President Elias and Richardson, director of PATH's TB program, write in a Post-Intelligencer opinion piece. Despite the "well-known and deadly synergy between the two epidemics, the world is still doing much too little to address the complicated issues of the intertwining diseases," and "that needs to change," the authors write (Elias/Richardson, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 11/29).
- Elizabeth Taylor, USA Today: "It is inconceivable" that there "remains a need to designate an annual day to mark a health pandemic that has reached global proportions," actress Taylor, who founded the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation, writes in a USA Today opinion piece. Although there is a "generation of young people who do not believe they are at risk," no one is "isolated from this pandemic, and no one is immune," Taylor writes (Taylor, USA Today, 11/30).