The Financial Times published the following opinion pieces as part of its special report, "Combating AIDS 2012," released ahead of World AIDS Day, observed annually on December 1.
Bertrand Audoin: "HIV and AIDS are not only a public health crisis but a crisis of law, human rights and social justice," Audoin, executive director of the International AIDS Society, writes, adding, "[W]hen laws are drafted on the basis of moral judgment and societal norms, in the process legitimizing prejudice and discrimination, [they] effectively pu[t] people at a higher risk of infection." He continues, "Criminalization disrupts access to HIV testing, education and support services and erodes public health norms that support mutual responsibility for HIV prevention," and he discusses how HIV travel bans and other laws affect marginalized groups, such as sex workers and drug users. He concludes, "If we are serious about 'getting to zero' and eradicating AIDS, justice and human rights are pivotal to ensuring the success of the U.N. objective of 15 million people receiving treatment for HIV by 2015" (11/29).
Michel Kazatchkine: "In many parts of the world we are 'getting to zero' HIV and AIDS (the slogan for World AIDS Day), but ... U.N. figures offer unsettling evidence that achieving this target will require the world's fastest growing epidemic, in eastern Europe and central Asia, to be overcome," Kazatchkine, the U.N. special envoy for HIV/AIDS in eastern Europe and central Asia, writes. Noting "[t]he epidemic is characterized by escalating HIV infection and startling hepatitis C, tuberculosis and multidrug-resistant TB prevalence," he continues, "If urgent and measured action based on scientific evidence is not taken here, we will be heading for a major human tragedy." Kazatchkine writes, "The treatment of HIV and AIDS in eastern Europe and central Asia is at a tipping point," and concludes, "Only a change in mindset among the region's political classes towards a public health policy approach will save the region from a human tragedy" (11/29).
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