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Commentary & Opinion
Leaders Must Have Financial Commitment, Ethical Courage in Fight Against HIV/AIDS, Opinion Piece Says

June 2, 2006

The "continued ambivalence" to HIV/AIDS demonstrated by leaders of the world's wealthiest nations "reflects both the enormity of the task ahead and the political and ethical sensitivities that underpin it," Andrew Jack, a columnist for London's Financial Times, writes in a Financial Times opinion piece. Despite statistics from the UNAIDS report released on Tuesday that show 1.3 million HIV-positive people in low- and middle-income countries are receiving antiretroviral drugs, "it is far too soon to claim victory," according to Jack. "[T]here is no doubt that more money is required" in the fight against HIV/AIDS, and "[b]usiness could do much more," Jack writes. However, it is not solely financial commitments that must be addressed by leaders; policies also must be examined, Jack writes. Thus far, the United Nations, the World Health Organization and leaders from the Group of Eight industrialized nations have been "far less vocal about prevention and HIV-testing programs" than they have about treatment programs because prevention "lack[s] the dramatic appeal of 'saving lives now,'" Jack writes. Even more neglected than testing and treatment has been "research into what works" to fight the spread of HIV, according to Jack. The world's political leaders must dedicate "not only the financial resources" to fight HIV/AIDS in developing nations, but also the "moral courage to defend controversial policies at home," Jack concludes (Jack, Financial Times, 5/31).

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