The New York Times and the Washington Post recently published opinion pieces on the global HIV/AIDS situation and the U.S. response to it 25 years after the disease was diagnosed. Summaries appear below.
- Nicholas Kristof, New York Times: The 25 years since the first case of AIDS was diagnosed have been "a quarter-century of self-delusion, dithering and failure at every level," Times columnist Kristof writes in an opinion piece. According to Kristof, the "gross immorality" of the 1980s was committed "in the corridors of power by self-righteous political and religious leaders whose indifference to the suffering of gays allowed the epidemic to spread" in the U.S. "Misgovernance has been even worse in Africa," Kristof says. However, there are signs that "leaders around the world have finally been waking up to the challenge of [HIV/]AIDS in the last few years," Kristof writes, citing China, Kenya and Zimbabwe as countries that might have "turned the corner" when it comes to addressing HIV/AIDS. He adds that President Bush has significantly increased funding to tackle the disease in Africa. Still, "we have disgraced ourselves" over the last 25 years by failing to properly address "an enormous public health challenge" that is "expected to be comparable to the mortality an earlier generation faced from World War II," according to Kristof (Kristof, New York Times, 5/28).
- Kristof, New York Times: Although "we know what to do, and we have the tools to overcome [HIV/]AIDS, ... we still don't use them," Kristof writes in a Times opinion piece. For example, a single dose of nevirapine to prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission costs just $4, but only 10% of pregnant HIV-positive women in Africa receive the drug because of "poverty and governmental incompetence," he writes. "Twenty-five years after we allowed AIDS to spin out of control because its victims were marginalized people, we're doing the same thing all over again," and that is the "saddest thing of all," Kristof says (Kristof, New York Times, 5/30).
- Sebastian Mallaby, Washington Post: Critics of the Bush administration should "give credit where it's due" when it comes to the administration's commitment to tackling HIV/AIDS worldwide, Post columnist Mallaby writes in an opinion piece. The President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, which President Bush launched in 2003 to provide $15 billion over five years to fight the disease, was the "biggest commitment to a global health challenge announced by any government, ever," Mallaby writes, adding that any criticism of the program "has proved mostly unfounded." Bush's program is not "perfect," nor is the Bush administration the "lone hero of the AIDS crisis," Mallaby says. But "the bottom line is that the administration has faced up to a killer that's taken 25 million lives in the 25 years since its discovery," he adds. Mallaby concludes that the U.S. is the "wrong target" for those who want to "denounce rich countries for their negligence" on HIV/AIDS (Mallaby, Washington Post, 5/29).
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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. © 2006 by The Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.