Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson in his Oct. 3 opinion piece "rightly credited" the U.S.'s "unprecedented resource investment as a critical first step" toward controlling the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Zambia, Jeffrey Stringer, director of CDC's disease research in Zambia, writes in a Post letter to the editor. However, there is "much more to do" to control the disease, and such efforts are "going to be expensive," Stringer writes.
The U.S. has provided antiretroviral drug access to more than 70,000 adults and children in Zambia, according to Stringer. In addition, the Zambian government has "worked hard" to provide 35,000 people with treatment access since 2004, Stringer adds. There is a "feeling of hope" as medical wards in the capital city of Lusaka, which once were "overloaded with emaciated AIDS patients" are now "eerily empty," and "[f]uneral processions no longer strangle midday traffic," according to Stringer.
However, there are still 270,000 people living with HIV/AIDS in the country who need treatment, according to Stringer. "Steadily over the coming decade, each of these people will need treatment or die without it," Stringer writes, adding that the U.S. has "acted morally and compassionately, but we must brace ourselves" (Stringer, Washington Post, 10/9).
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Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, search the archives, or sign up for email delivery at www.kaisernetwork.org/dailyreports/hiv. The Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of the Kaiser Family Foundation, by The Advisory Board Company. © 2007 by The Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.