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Opinion Pieces Published In Recognition Of World AIDS Day

The following summaries represent some of the many opinion pieces published to recognize World AIDS Day, December 1.

  • Chris Beyrer and Michel Kazatchkine, BBC News: “[T]he recurring themes of stigma and discrimination at the social, cultural and political levels” are preventing key affected populations, such as men who have sex with men and female sex workers, from benefiting from advances in science and technology to prevent and treat HIV, Beyrer, president-elect of the International AIDS Society (IAS), and Kazatchkine, the U.N. Secretary General’s special envoy for HIV/AIDS in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, who serve as co-chairs of the “Nobody Left Behind Campaign,” an IAS initiative, write. “Here we are, we have all the technology, we have extraordinary scientific progress, and we just cannot translate that into making a difference in these populations,” they state, adding, “[T]here is an urgent need for re-think of how we approach the epidemic” (11/28).
  • Agnes Binagwaho, U.S. News & World Report: “Over the past decade, we have made extraordinary gains against the world’s deadliest diseases thanks to [PEPFAR] and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria,” the Rwandan health minister writes, adding, “These initiatives are saving millions of lives every year. In order to make these gains truly sustainable, we must now address a critical challenge in low-income countries: an acute shortage of highly trained health professionals.” She concludes, “The achievements of PEPFAR and the Global Fund, and the launch of new initiatives such as the Human Resources for Health program, show us how much is possible with true solidarity” (11/29).
  • Philippe Douste-Blazy, Huffington Post’s “Impact” blog: “On World AIDS Day, … the international community should remember commitments made at the United Nations High Level Meeting on AIDS in 2011 to accelerate access to HIV medicines and to facilitate the development of needed medicines for children,” Douste-Blazy, U.N. under-secretary general and chair of UNITAID, writes, noting, “UNITAID and the Medicines Patent Pool … are working to address the needs of people living with HIV, including children.” He adds, “My vision is for a World AIDS Day in the near future where we can say with pride that we have achieved universal access to treatment” (11/29).
  • Mark Dybul and Timothy Hallett, Huffington Post’s “The Big Push” blog: “[S]cientific advances and the programs that have been developed over just the last few years,” as well as “the falling costs of medication,” “are making it possible to defeat the disease,” Dybul, executive director of the Global Fund, and Hallett of Imperial College London write. “So as the world enters what could be a final stretch in the fight against this modern-time plague, our challenge is to invest smartly, follow the epidemiology and build up the systems that have been in place over the last years to make sure we reach all risk groups and geographical areas to get to low levels of HIV transmission,” they add (11/28).
  • Anthony Fauci, Huffington Post’s “Healthy Living” blog: “Through concerted, cooperative and sustained effort, we can strive toward an AIDS-free reality,” Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, writes, adding, “In that pursuit, even if total elimination eludes us, at the very least much suffering will be averted and the health and economic well-being of people, families, communities and entire nations will be boosted” (12/1).
  • Tom Frieden, Huffington Post’s “Impact” blog: “In June, CDC, together with our sister PEPFAR implementing agencies, achieved a dramatic milestone: the prevention of HIV infection in one million babies globally over the past 10 years,” CDC Director Frieden writes, adding, “On this World AIDS Day, CDC continues to bring the best prevention and treatment tools at our disposal to the communities that need them most” (12/1).
  • Patrick Gaspard, Sunday Independent: Recounting some successful efforts against HIV/AIDS in South Africa, including programs supported by PEPFAR, the U.S. Ambassador to South Africa writes, “We take hope from the thousands of positive stories like these, but we also know that there is still so much more that needs to be done.” He adds, “By working together, we have created a better future for millions of South African men, women and children, and going forward we will continue this partnership and together achieve our shared goal of an AIDS-free generation” (12/1).
  • Elton John, USA TODAY: “I hope and pray that science will find a cure for AIDS very soon. But more than a new medical breakthrough, we need a breakthrough in our understanding of what really drives this epidemic, and how our lack of compassion for those suffering from HIV/AIDS is making the epidemic so much worse,” singer and songwriter John, who founded the Elton John AIDS Foundation, writes (11/28).