Commentary & Opinion
World Must Come to Terms With HIV Transmission Routes, Opinion Piece Says
June 9, 2006
The world must "cease to dodge" the fact that HIV is transmitted sexually and through drug use, Kent Sepkowitz, an infectious disease specialist at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, writes in a New England Journal of Medicine opinion piece. Over the past 25 years, the world has seen a "slow-motion domino effect" as the pandemic "overwhelms country after country," a result of the fact that "lessons learned about HIV prevention and control in one country have failed to inform decisions in others," Sepkowitz writes. He adds that this "buck passing has delayed the control" of the spread of HIV/AIDS in every country. It is imperative to adopt the "humility necessary" to control HIV and "accept the gothic dimensions of a disease that is transmitted" through sexual activity and drug use, Sepkowitz writes, adding that only then can "effective" HIV prevention programs begin. "Until then, it is no exaggeration to say that our polite behavior is killing us," he concludes (Sepkowitz, NEJM, 6/8).
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