Editorials, Opinion Pieces Respond to World AIDS Day
Several newspapers have published editorials and opinion pieces in response to World AIDS Day. Summaries appear below.
Chicago Tribune: Although "significant sums are needed to arrest the AIDS epidemic," the revised global estimates recently released by UNAIDS and the World Health Organization suggest that "AIDS funding can be better focused that it has been," a Tribune editorial says. The United Nations has "harmed the cause of AIDS prevention by not acknowledging sooner that it had inflated the number" of people living with HIV/AIDS worldwide, the editorial says, concluding, "But AIDS has hardly disappeared: 33.2 million people still takes your breath away" (Chicago Tribune, 12/1).
Honolulu Advertiser: The world should "put the numbers aside and think instead about the faces -- the mothers, the fathers, the brothers, the sisters and the children -- who are fighting AIDS," an Advertiser editorial says, adding that for "them and for the 2.5 million people expected to be infected each year, it's time to renew the passion and resources in the fight against AIDS" (Honolulu Advertiser, 12/1).
Houston Chronicle: Because of recent setbacks in HIV vaccine research, other "sound strategies must continue to be the centerpiece of efforts to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS," a Chronicle editorial says. Such strategies include education programs that teach safer sex methods, condom distribution, drugs to prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission and male circumcision, according to the editorial (Houston Chronicle, 11/30).
Newark Star-Ledger: There are "many new challenges ahead" in the fight against HIV/AIDS, a Star-Ledger editorial says. These challenges include the extended survival of HIV-positive people because of antiretrovirals, which will "test the medical care system and current funding strategies," the editorial says, adding that the "perception that AIDS is not a death threat will test prevention efforts" (Newark Star-Ledger, 12/1).
News-Press: The global community should "fight the notion that because treatment now allows people to live with HIV and AIDS," the disease is "not a serious illness," a News-Press editorial says. HIV testing efforts also should be expanded, the editorial says, adding that the "campaign to fight HIV/AIDS needs to be re-energized, not neglected" (New-Press, 12/1).
Tulsa World: HIV/AIDS "may never be completely defeated, but it can be battled to a standstill," a World editorial says. "It is of crucial importance, for both humanitarian and practical reasons, to keep up the good fight," the editorial concludes (Tulsa World, 12/1).
Washington Post: The HIV/AIDS pandemic has "required an unprecedented response," a Post editorial says, adding that governments, "private organizations and millions of individuals have had to tackle a chronic disease that is incurable but that can be treated through a relatively complex set of medical interventions." Funding for HIV/AIDS "must, of course, take its place among many needs in the American foreign aid budget," the editorial says, concluding, "But this is no time for complacency or 'donor fatigue.' HIV/AIDS is still a medical Mount Everest; perhaps, though, the peak is at last in sight" (Washington Post, 12/1).
- Sandra Thurman, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Needle-exchange programs effectively prevent the spread of HIV among injection drug users, Thurman, president of the International AIDS Trust, writes in a Journal-Constitution opinion piece. However, a lack of federal funding for needle-exchange programs, as well as local support to implement them when possible, are contributing to the spread of HIV among "thousands" of IDUs, "their sexual partners and their children," she adds (Thurman, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 12/3).
- Sen. John Kerry, Boston Herald: World AIDS Day is an opportunity to "stand up against all that still holds us back from fulfilling our moral responsibility" in the fight against HIV/AIDS, Sen. Kerry (D-Mass.) writes in a Herald opinion piece. He writes that fighting HIV/AIDS should be a "first-tier priority" of U.S. foreign policy and an "ultimate measurement of our values" (Kerry, Boston Herald, 12/1).
- Elizabeth Pisani, London's Guardian: Despite the recent reduction in global HIV/AIDS estimates from UNAIDS and WHO, the "bad news is that in many parts of the world we are still doing all the wrong things," Pisani, an epidemiologist who works on HIV/AIDS in developing countries, writes in a Guardian opinion piece. Although education, earning opportunities and increased equality within couples "are wonderful goals," the world "can't wait for equality to prevent HIV," Pisani writes (Pisani, Guardian, 12/1).
- Susan Blumenthal and Melissa Shive, Newsweek: It is "troubling" that few U.S. presidential candidates have released "proposals for how they would lead in the fight against the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the U.S. and globally," Blumenthal -- a health and medicine adviser at the Center for the Study of the Presidency -- and Shive, a Fulbright scholar, write in a Newsweek opinion piece. They add that presidential candidates should release "details of their plans for eradicating this disease" and that the next president must "move quickly to strengthen efforts of" the Office of National AIDS Policy, "appoint a director and expand its activities" (Blumenthal/Shive, Newsweek, 11/29).
- Pamela Barnes, Ocean County Observer: If antiretroviral drugs do not reach people living with HIV/AIDS, "lives are lost prematurely and needlessly," Barnes, president and CEO of the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, writes in an Observer opinion piece. She adds that mother-to-child HIV transmission can be curbed when the "infrastructure necessary to deliver life-saving care to everyone who needs it" is built (Barnes, Ocean County Observer, 12/1).
- Laura Bush, Washington Post: World AIDS Day is a "reminder to all Americans that the AIDS epidemic" in the U.S. and abroad "is far from over," U.S. first lady Bush writes in a Post opinion piece. "Practice safe sex," Bush writes, adding, "Let's take a cue from our African counterparts and follow the ABC method of prevention: Abstinence, Be Faithful, and the Correct and Consistent Use of Condoms. That means not just occasionally, but every time" (Bush, Washington Post, 12/1).