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Editorials and Commentary

Pennies a Day Can Stop Spread of AIDS

April 8, 2002

"...We traveled recently to South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya to promote low-cost, high-impact interventions and to urge leaders in Africa and around the world to dramatically increase the resources they dedicate to defeating HIV/AIDS.

"...Heads of state must stress that HIV/AIDS is a direct threat to the country and to each individual. Every nation needs a massive public education effort combined with aggressive programs of condom distribution, especially to groups at the highest risk of contracting and spreading the disease. In sub-Saharan Africa, the total condom supply now equals three per man per year. ...While we believe an AIDS vaccine is the best hope to end the pandemic, the world also needs to support proven and affordable interventions now.

"Sexually transmitted infections, which increase susceptibility to HIV infection, must be treated. Nevirapine, which cuts by half the risk of mother-to-child transmission for $4 a treatment, must be provided. Voluntary counseling and testing must be available. ...National support groups for people with HIV/AIDS must be expanded to reduce the stigma of HIV/AIDS.

"Foundations and nonprofits can support research, sponsor programs and identify what works. But knowing what works is not enough. It will be impossible to reverse the HIV/AIDS epidemic without a dramatic increase in health funding.

"Developing countries need to make their own health spending a greater priority and establish clear accounting procedures to give people confidence that the money is going where it ought to go. Wealthy countries, urged on by citizens who care about this issue, must also dramatically increase funding, and the United States should lead.

"Polls show that many Americans fear that corrupt or inefficient governments often waste foreign assistance. But because of the intense personal interest that we witnessed in Africa by suffering or concerned people, waste or corruption is minimal in the crucial area of health spending.

"The more we realize that pennies a day can save millions of lives, the more we should insist that the world's wealthiest nation continue to increase its health aid and take a lead role in ending this disease."

Jimmy Carter was the 39th president of the United States. Bill Gates Sr. is co-chairperson and CEO of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Back to other CDC news for April 8, 2002

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Adapted from:
Los Angeles Times
04.07.02; Jimmy Carter; Bill Gates, Sr.

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
See Also
More Viewpoints on HIV Policy and Funding in the Developing World