Lancet Publishes Opinions, Profiles Pieces About HIV/AIDS in Latin America, U.S. Blacks
July 28, 2008
The Lancet on Saturday published an editorial, profile piece and viewpoint about HIV/AIDS in Latin America, the Caribbean and U.S. blacks. Summaries appear below.
- "HIV/AIDS in Latin America and the Caribbean": Approximately "20,000 people are expected to attend" the XVII International AIDS Conference in Mexico City next week, a Lancet editorial says, adding that the conference "should provide a unique opportunity to focus attention on a region that often gets sidelined in the global response to HIV/AIDS." Almost two million people are estimated to be HIV-positive in Latin American and the Caribbean -- more than in the U.S., "Canada, Western Europe, Australia and Japan combined" -- the editorial says. There is "still an enormous amount to do to bring about the large reductions in HIV prevalence in the high-risk groups" in the region, and the "global health architecture needs to put Latin America in their plans," according to the editorial. It adds that not doing so "is unfair and shortsighted because there are likely to be good returns on investment." During the conference, "people from Latin America and the Caribbean will have the chance to show the world the reality of the different epidemics the region is confronting, the responses in place and the obstacles to overcome," the editorial says, concluding, "Garnering the world's attention for five days must have a lasting impact and re-energize the HIV community in the region" (Lancet, 7/26).
- "Jorge Saavedra: Committed Campaigner on HIV/AIDS in Mexico": The Lancet profiled Saavedra, director of Mexico's National Centre for the Prevention and Control of HIV/AIDS, or CENSIDA. Saavedra is an "articulate and openly gay physician who lives with HIV in a predominantly Catholic country, where homophobia and the machismo culture continue to be the societal drivers of HIV transmission," according to the Lancet. Saavedra also "helped secure Mexico as the host city" for the AIDS conference, the Lancet reports. "The epidemic in Africa is huge and should be a priority, but that focus overlooks the fact that HIV continues to take its toll in other regions," Saavedra said (Das, Lancet, 7/26).
- "Understanding and Responding to Disparities in HIV and Other Sexually Transmitted Infections in African-Americans": Sevgi Aral, Adaora Adimora and Kevin Fenton of CDC in this viewpoint piece examine how rates of "infection with HIV and some other sexually transmitted infections are higher among African-Americans than among European Americans." According to the authors, growing "evidence indicates that disease epidemics and, consequently, disparities in morbidity rates, are outcomes of the functioning of systems." They add, "Populations function as complex systems, and disease rates might result from the characteristics of individuals in the population, the interactions and interdependencies between individuals, the effects of population-level factors on individual-level health outcomes, and the interplay between individual-level and population-level factors." To address this issue, the "African-American HIV and STI prevention research agenda needs to be more deliberately placed within a social determinants and social justice framework," the authors write, adding, "Persistent stigma and silence surround HIV and STIs among African-Americas, but community mobilization efforts can help mitigate their effect." In addition, "committed leadership at the highest levels in the African-American community and in governments across the country is essential," the authors write. They conclude, "Without efforts to fundamentally improve population health and well-being by addressing the root causes of these epidemics, African-Americans will continue to be severely affected and disadvantaged" (Aral et al., Lancet, 7/26).
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