UN Special Envoy on HIV/AIDS: Pandemic Must Be Conquered
April 15, 2003
Stephen Lewis, UN special envoy on HIV/AIDS in Africa, opened an international HIV/AIDS researchers conference at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, on April 10. "In Africa, 60 percent of women infected with AIDS are in monogamous marriages -- or so they thought," Lewis said.Adapted from:
Lewis denounced developed countries, particularly the United States, that are not willing to spend money on the pandemic that is "destroying the ability of nations to function." The pandemic can be conquered, he said, but "we need the resources to do it, and we don't have it and millions are dying needlessly."
The World Health Organization has said up to $15 billion could be spent on AIDS, Lewis said. But when the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria was set up, it only got $2.1 billion in funding the first 18 months. It is now out of money. "It's a criminally negligent response from the rich countries of the world ... What stymies the progress most of all is war -- war which eats up $100 billion to subdue Saddam Hussein while we can't find pennies to save the lives of millions. There has to be some balance in this world. There can't be such a disproportionate skew of human madness so that so much money is instantaneously summoned for war, and so little money is summoned to rescue the human condition."
Lewis said Canada should triple its contribution to fighting AIDS from its current $150 million over four years. "In the face of a pandemic that will take a greater number of lives than any equivalent scourge or war in human history, it behooves us as a nation that pretends to have a moral anchor, to behave as though that moral anchor is real, and to recognize we can't write off a continent," Lewis said.
Halifax Daily News
04.11.03; Cathy Nicoll
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.