Commentary & Opinion
Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report Summarizes Editorials, Opinion Piece on UNGASS, 25th Anniversary of First AIDS Diagnosis
June 16, 2006
June 5th was the 25th anniversary of the first AIDS diagnosis. Several newspapers recently published editorials and an opinion piece regarding the anniversary and the U.N. General Assembly Special Session on HIV/AIDS this month. Summaries appear below.
- Hartford Courant: Twenty-five years after the first diagnosed case of AIDS, "[a]lmost everyone knows someone who has died of AIDS[-related illnesses]," a Courant editorial says. "The most infuriating aspect of [HIV/AIDS] is that it is almost entirely preventable, yet persists" in part because of the "stubbor[n]" practice of unprotected sex and because of "prejudice" against men who have sex with men and injection drug users, according to the editorial. If HIV/AIDS is to be defeated, there must be "persistent" leadership and increased aid and research to fight the pandemic, according to the Courant. HIV "will not be stopped until people are prevented from contracting it," which, in the absence of an effective vaccine, means "forgoing risks," including unprotected sex and injection drug use with contaminated needles. The editorial adds that it also is important to implement routine HIV testing so people "can be sure not to infect someone else" (Hartford Courant, 6/11).
- Muskogee Daily Phoenix: After 25 years of HIV/AIDS, the "staggering" number of HIV-positive people worldwide "show[s] that efforts by the [U.S.] and many other countries are not sufficient," a Daily Phoenix editorial says. Although "progress is being made" for HIV-positive people "who can gain access to the latest drugs available to fight" the virus, "too many people in Africa and now Asia continue to die" from AIDS-related causes, the editorial says. "If the world is committed to finding a vaccine to prevent transmission of the virus, America must continue to help lead the way," the editorial concludes (Muskogee Daily Phoenix, 6/10).
- New Scientist: Twenty-five years after the "emergence of HIV, many governments still have not grasped [the] simple lesson" that "[p]reventive measures such as providing condoms, sterile needles and education -- especially about avoiding risky sexual behavior -- have been shown to save lives and money, particularly when targeted at high risk-groups," a New Scientist editorial says. The "biggest failure" regarding the epidemic has been in prevention because "many governments are anxious to ignore" the subjects of sex and injection drug use, according to the editorial. "UNAIDS says that for the first time, we have the means to turn the tide against HIV," the New Scientist says, adding, "For this to happen, governments must get over their moral and cultural objections and see HIV for what it is: an unrelenting health problem" (New Scientist, 6/10).
- Anita Creamer, Sacramento Bee: "In retrospect," many of the concerns people had at the beginning of the HIV/AIDS epidemic "seem transcendently silly -- the result of what happens when panic overtakes good sense," Bee columnist Creamer writes in an opinion piece. "Rumor, denial and complacency remain the emotional cocktail that serves to numb us to AIDS' reality," Creamer writes, concluding, "In 1981, it was the unknown that frightened us and killed so many people. Today, it's what we choose not to know that does so much damage" (Creamer, Sacramento Bee, 6/7).
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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.