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.
Boston Globe: Although "promising evidence" suggests that the number of new HIV cases worldwide has "declined in recent years," the "trend will only reverse if broader access to HIV drugs makes the infection appear to be a risk worth taking," a Globe editorial says. "Defeating AIDS requires the best drugs and the best prevention strategies, buttressed by the best research on what is working and what is not," the editorial says, adding that paying for these efforts will "continue to require generous support" for the Global Fund To Fight AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis and the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. The new HIV/AIDS figures "must prove to be not just a statistical blip, but a long-term trend to greater survival," the editorial concludes (Boston Globe, 12/1).
Calgary Herald: Canada has made "enormous progress" to "contain" the "tragic consequences" of HIV/AIDS, a Herald opinion piece says. It adds that despite "medical breakthroughs and educational programs," the "disease continues to exact a terrible toll." Although it is "encouraging that new medicines are helping to slow the progression of HIV into AIDS, the stark fact remains that there is still no cure for the disease," the editorial says. It adds, "As public health agencies continue to emphasize, the only way to remain safe is not to become infected" with the virus (Calgary Herald, 12/3).
Charlotte Observer: It is "good" that President Bush is calling for increases in global funding for HIV/AIDS, but "more resources and attention are needed in the U.S. too," an Observer editorial says. "Tackling the AIDS epidemic requires renewed efforts and stronger commitment of the public and public officials," the editorial says, adding that those "efforts and that commitment are needed at home and abroad" (Charlotte Observer, 12/4).
Korea Herald: People living with HIV/AIDS in Korea still are "burdened" by discrimination and stigma associated with the disease because "crucial facts ... have yet to become common knowledge," a Herald editorial says. It adds that "acute social stigmatization and alienation" will "continue until people finally recognize that AIDS is one of many chronic illnesses which have to be fought scientifically and with compassion" (Korea Herald, 12/4).
- Uganda's New Vision: Uganda is at the "forefront" of the fight against HIV/AIDS, but the increase of discordant couples -- where one partner is HIV-positive and the other partner is HIV-negative -- is a "new phenomenon" that needs "close attention," a New Vision editorial says. "This calls for renewed vigilance in the fight against the disease because this discovery is likely to compromise the country's achievements," the editorial says, concluding, "It is vital ... to encourage married people to establish their HIV status so that they do not pass on the virus if they are found to be discordant" (New Vision, 12/5).
- Max Essex and Loretta McLaughlin, Boston Globe: "AIDS is no longer the death sentence it once was" because of increased access to antiretroviral drugs, Essex -- professor of health sciences and chair of the Harvard School of Public Health AIDS Initiative -- and McLaughlin -- senior fellow at the Harvard AIDS Initiative -- write in a Globe opinion piece. They add that although "success with treatment is now reality, prevention of AIDS through vaccines and microbicides will follow as long as we remain committed" (Essex/McLaughlin, Boston Globe, 12/1).
- Janet Museveni, Uganda's Daily Monitor: "If an AIDS vaccine is to become a reality in the near future, there is a need to significantly expand political support for AIDS vaccine research globally," Uganda first lady Museveni writes in a Monitor opinion piece. "Heavily affected countries should support vaccine trials and can invest in their own research capacity, for instance, by committing to train the next generation of researchers," Museveni writes, adding that countries with "established research capacity should increase and sustain their funding for research to combat HIV" and other diseases. Countries also should "explore incentives to stimulate greater private sector engagement," according to Museveni, who adds that wealthy "nations should help ensure adequate support for AIDS vaccine research and development. Without better prevention, the costs of treating AIDS will only continue to soar" (Museveni, Daily Monitor, 11/23).
- Kofi Annan and Rajat Gupta, Seattle Times: "Fighting HIV/AIDS is a business problem that demands businesslike solutions with measurable targets and results-based funding," Annan -- former United Nations secretary-general -- and Gupta -- board chair of the Global Fund To Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria -- write in a Times opinion piece. They add that failure to "act today will leave the next generation with a deadly and impossible burden" (Annan/Gupta, Seattle Times, 12/1).
- Elizabeth Mataka, Zimbabwe Standard: Mataka, U.N. special envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa, in a Standard opinion piece writes that as the special envoy, she will "work tirelessly towards ensuring" that all Africans have "access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support." She adds that individuals also can "make a promise" to stop AIDS by knowing their HIV status, changing risky sexual behavior, protecting against HIV transmission and by not "discriminating against people living with HIV" (Mataka, Zimbabwe Standard, 12/2).