More needs to be done to stop AIDS

Posted: Thursday, December 05, 2002

In sub-Saharan Africa, the toll that AIDS has taken on people who are 20 to 45 years old has created a demographic shift that's more consistent with what happens in a war.

Unlike war, though, this decimation doesn't discriminate by gender. More than half of those infected with HIV in that part of the world are women, 58 percent.

That shift isn't only happening in Southern Africa, where the disease is most rampant. For the first time in the history of this epidemic, half of those infected with HIV worldwide are women, according to the United Nations. ...

The devastation that the virus has caused in Southern Africa should be a warning siren to the world. There, the disease has robbed children of their parents and economies of their most productive members. It has furthered a famine that is raging in six countries and destabilized society. ...

The U.N. says that 16 million more people will die in that region over the next 20 years without large, effective programs. The U.N. estimates that prevention programs will cost $10 billion a year by 2005.

That's a high price, but so is the toll that AIDS has taken and will continue to take unless more is done to stop its spread.

-- The Times-Picayune, New Orleans

Dec. 1

If inspirational spiels by world figures could be converted to cash, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria in developing countries would be flush. There would be money for drugs to stem mother-to-child transmission of AIDS, for prevention and education programs to slow down HIV infections, and for mosquito-control efforts to curb the spread of malaria.

Instead the fund, announced in 2001 by President Bush and UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and officially launched a year later, already faces a financial crunch. An additional setback came last week, when Congress adjourned without acting on legislation that could have authorized as much as $4 billion for the fund over the next two years.

This campaign needs a boost, a push for more money and development of a clear, military-like strategy, by the White House before the president's planned tour of Africa in mid-January. ...

An emphasis from President Bush would go a long way toward reviving national and international interest in the global fund. There has to be a strategy for allocating and directing money, and for rallying U.S. allies, comparable to the military plans to fight terrorism worldwide. ...

-- Chicago Tribune

Dec. 2

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