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Opinion Pieces, Editorials Recognize World AIDS Day

Thursday, December 1 is World AIDS Day. The following is a summary of several opinion pieces and editorials published in recognition of the day. 

  • Damon Barrett, Huffington Post: “This year we will hear that the first AIDS-free generation since the discovery of HIV may be a reality. But we are unlikely to hear what counts. As with every year, we are left more questions than answers,” Barrett of Harm Reduction International writes before posing questions about the epidemic to several organizations (11/30).
  • Stefano Bertozzi, AlertNet: “World AIDS Day provides us an annual occasion to pause, reflect, and take stock of how we are doing in the fight against HIV. … This year, we can celebrate the fact that the world is becoming smarter about how it spends its limited HIV-related financial resources,” Bertozzi, director of the HIV/TB Program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, writes (11/30).
  • Bono, New York Times: “[T]oday, here we are, talking seriously about the ‘end’ of this global epidemic. … This is the tipping point we have been campaigning for. We’re nearly there. How did we get here? America led. I mean really led” (11/30).
  • Sarah Boseley, Guardian: “Today, on World AIDS Day, the disease is still incurable — but not untreatable. … But in the last week the champagne bubbles have gone flat. The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria … has cancelled its next funding round. … How can this be the right time to let the Global Fund founder? … Without treatment and continuing effort, three decades of progress could be reversed,” journalist Boseley writes (11/30).
  • George W. Bush, Wall Street Journal: “On this December 1, World AIDS Day, the promise of progress against the disease has never been more vivid — or more fragile. … In lean budget times, the U.S. and the developing world must prioritize. But there can be no higher priority than saving lives. And there is no better way to save lives than to support and expand effective, proven programs such as PEPFAR” (11/30).
  • Ezekiel Emanuel, New York Times: “Many Americans feel that foreign assistance is like money poured down a rathole. … But the ‘rathole’ argument is dead wrong. Indeed, this World AIDS Day, December 1, provides a perfect opportunity to assess the results of our global health assistance efforts and to recognize the tremendous amount we have accomplished,” columnist Emanuel writes (11/30).
  • Trent Franks, The Hill: “One of the great shames in the battle against HIV/AIDS is the fact that the same conservatives who, statistically, give significantly more to charity than their liberal counterparts, with some notable exceptions, have been largely content to allow one of the greatest humanitarian crises in the world to be hijacked as an exclusively ‘liberal issue,'” Rep. Franks (R-Ariz.) writes, concluding, “If we act now and, most importantly, through a collective, bipartisan effort, we can help millions live the dream of a long, healthy life walking in the sunlight of freedom” (11/30).
  • Jeffrey Sachs, The Independent: “Today should be a matter of celebration, but this World AIDS Day is instead an occasion of deep alarm,” Sachs, director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, writes, adding instead, “[o]ur countries are completely enmeshed in domestic politics and crisis management. Publics are distracted, and politicians are cynically clinging to office, … the rich escape with their tax breaks and loopholes, while the poor and dying are left to suffer. … No celebrations today. Only the very hard work of getting the world back to a path of decency and survival” (11/30).
  • Winnie Ssanyu Sseruma, The Independent: “What I would personally like to acknowledge is that in countries with significant epidemics, the intensity of HIV prevention and treatment interventions and the money spent on them finally appear to be paying off,” Sseruma of Christian Aid writes, continuing, “However, what is not evident from the statistics is how HIV-related stigma is being addressed, and many people working on HIV agree that it is going to take a lot more than HIV medication to stop HIV dead in its tracks. Indeed, there is an urgent need to tackle structural barriers which prevent people from accessing and utilizing HIV prevention, including stigma, discrimination, criminalization and harmful gender norms, if HIV is to be eradicated” (11/30).
  • Des Moines Register: “Today people everywhere will show support for those living with HIV/AIDS and remember those who have died. In Iowa, World AIDS Day can have special significance. This state has unique access to presidential candidates. Iowans should ask them their thoughts on the global pandemic and the role of the United States in providing funding to fight it” (11/30).
  • The Independent: “Here’s the good news for World AIDS Day. The number of people dying from the disease around the world declined for the third year in a row last year. … But the bad news is that politicians have decided they cannot afford the money to keep up the fight” (12/1).