Newspapers Publish Letters to Editor About HIV/AIDS Issues
The New York Times and Washington Post recently published letters to the editor about HIV/AIDS issues. Summaries appear below.
- Katherine Bourne, New York Times: Bourne -- vice president of programs for the International Women's Health Coalition -- wrote the letter in response to a recent Times editorial about a new proposed "regimen for testing and treatment that models show could make an enormous difference in rates of HIV infection and mortality." She writes that the "success of a computer model does not necessarily translate into success in actual use, but it certainly bears further investigation." She notes that the editorial did not "mention the researchers' caution that 'this approach should not be viewed independently of other methods of prevention.'" Bourne concludes that although a new regimen for testing and treatment could "turn the HIV pandemic around ... it will no more be a silver bullet than any other single approach. We need to make use of every effective tool that we have, from expanded condom use to sexuality education to continuing research on new interventions" (Bourne, New York Times, 12/8).
- Myron Cohen, New York Times: Cohen -- professor of medicine and director of the Institute of Global Health and Infectious Diseases at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill -- writes in a Times letter to the editor that the recent editorial "nicely summarizes the idea that we may be able to use antiretroviral therapy to treat our way out of the HIV pandemic." Cohen continues that aside from the "logistical and monetary challenges" highlighted, there "are two absolutely critical yet unproven assumptions: that very early treatment will provide a personal health benefit that outweighs long-term toxicity; and (most important) that antiretroviral therapy will durably prevent transmission of the virus to sexual partners." Cohen notes that NIH currently is testing these assumptions through a "continuing, multi-country, randomized, controlled trial," concluding that the trial's results "should provide the scientific information required to support changes in biomedical and public health policy and to promote the larger, population-level studies now being discussed" (Cohen, New York Times, 12/8).
- Lorraine Cole, Washington Post: Cole -- CEO of YWCA USA -- wrote the Post letter in response to a recent opinion piece by columnist Courtland Milloy. Cole writes, "While Mr. Milloy noted that AIDS is the fourth-leading cause of death for black women ages 45 to 54, it is even more shocking to realize that AIDS is the No. 1 cause of death for younger black women ages 25 to 34." She continues, "Not only do women account for the greater proportion of new HIV diagnoses but, according to a recent study by [CDC], they are less likely than men to receive the most effective medical treatments." According to Cole, YWCA has "long recognized the growing feminization of AIDS" in the U.S. (Cole, Washington Post, 12/7).