U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Thursday announced the Obama administration's "President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) Blueprint: Creating an AIDS-free Generation" (.pdf), and the international community recognized World AIDS Day on December 1. The following opinion pieces and editorial address issues related to the global AIDS response.
Carla Barrow, Miami Herald: PEPFAR and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria "have been pivotal in addressing AIDS in low- and middle-income countries, like those in Africa," Barrow, an attorney and group leader of RESULTS (Miami Chapter), writes. "To tackle the disease globally, the Global Fund needs $5 billion per year," she continues, adding, "By investing now, we can treat more people, reduce transmission and save more lives for less money. ... It's up to us to contact our local representatives in the House and Senate. We must tell them we're too close to victory to stifle the advances, and ask them to fully fund the Global Fund. The end of AIDS is not just a dream -- it can be a reality -- but only with action" (11/30).
Mark Harrington, The Atlantic: "Unlike the earlier domestic U.S. National HIV/AIDS Strategy, released in 2010, the global Blueprint makes a bold scientific case, based on the latest science and buttressed by substantial progress from the field, that investments in high-quality combination HIV prevention efforts and treatments can dramatically reduce new HIV infections and HIV deaths, while saving millions of lives and billions of dollars," Harrington, co-founder and executive director of the Treatment Action Group, writes. "Over the past decade, global HIV treatment has scaled up 200-fold," he notes, adding, "Here at home, however, the epidemic is at a stalemate." Harrington concludes, "It's well past time for the administration to hold its own HIV/AIDS strategy to the same high standards that it expects from the scores of countries that have benefited from American generosity, and from their own increasing investments, to turn back the HIV pandemic in this decade" (12/1).
New York Times: "Experts know how to control the global spread of the AIDS virus. What's missing is enough money and political will to apply proven tactics widely enough to change the course of the epidemic," the editorial states, saying the blueprint "failed to set firm goals for the percentage of people to be provided with treatments or the reduction in disease to be achieved. Nor does it offer a pledge of new money to help afflicted nations carry out the tasks." The editorial continues, "The fight against AIDS has yet to reach what Secretary Clinton calls a 'tipping point,' at which the annual increase in new patients being treated with AIDS drugs exceeds the number of people newly infected. Until it does, the global epidemic will continue to expand" (12/2).
This article was reprinted from kaiserhealthnews.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.