|How are we doing?
Jun 13, 2006
So the AIDS epidemic turns 25 this week. Over all how are we as a nation doing combatting the disease.
Thanks for your insight.
| Response from Dr. Frascino
Yes, the AIDS epidemic turned 25 last week. Since HIV/AIDS is a pandemic, I feel my comments should be global rather than national. Globally, the pandemic remains volatile and dynamic. AIDS worldwide certainly has far more energy than the cumulative (meager) efforts to fight it.
In 2001 the United Nations belatedly took up the issue in earnest and pushed the world to take AIDS more seriously. They created a plan for attacking the disease with specific targets and dollars committed to the fight increased significantly from 1.6 billion in 2001 to 8.3 billion last year.
This week, the United Nations is supposed to be reporting on their progress as to whether their targets are being met and devising the next phase of the campaign for the coming years. Instead, they are busy watering down the original plan. Ideologues, led by the Bush delegation, are taking out commitments to key programs and wealthy nations worried about costs are replacing concrete goals with vague statements. There can be no doubt we are moving backwards and Dubya is leading the retreat!
In terms of money, the world will fall six billion short of what is needed this year and we are falling further behind each year.
To make matters worse, the religious conservatives, who control Bush, are now influencing policy decisions on HIV/AIDS. Washington (joined only by Syria, Saudi Arabia and the Vatican) has removed references that were in the 2001 declaration concerning the provision of clean syringes to drug users. In countries like Russia, where the epidemic is largely spread by drug users, this elimination will prove catastrophic.
Also, the word "condom" seems to have been deleted from many aspects of the plan. Depressingly, nations are debating if they can even make references to "empowering women" or "vulnerable populations" (i.e. code word for sex workers, drug users and gay men).
Most egregiously, in the latest draft Bush and cronies have insisted on deleting any and all references to "evidence-based prevention strategies!!!" These are strategies scientifically proven to work! They want to substitute "evidence-informed prevention strategies!" Clearly the Bush administration feels it is absolutely imperative to include strategies that are not proven to work!!! Welcome to the parallel universe of George Dubya Bush. Shame on him and all who support these misguided notions.
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