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HIV/AIDS Opinions

Lots Of Promising HIV/AIDS Developments, Few Resources To Support Them All

“Promising scientific developments to prevent AIDS, not just treat its victims, have sparked hope among health officials, researchers and advocacy groups struggling to control the epidemic. Unfortunately, the global recession and soaring deficits in advanced nations have made it unlikely that sufficient money will be available to fully seize the new opportunities,” according to a New York Times editorial, which postures, “[s]ome agonizing choices will have to be made.”

The editorial notes some of the recent encouraging developments, including the PrEP trial results and the Pope’s comment about condoms being used to prevent HIV in some cases. “The next big challenge will be to determine how best to allocate scarce resources between these promising prevention tools and life-saving treatments for people already infected,” the editorial concludes (12/2).

U.S. Commitment To Fight HIV/AIDS In Uganda Has Not Waivered, But U.S. Should Not Be Sole Supporter Of Programs

In an opinion piece published in The Independent, U.S. Ambassador to Uganda Jerry Lanier reflects on the U.S. role in fighting HIV/AIDS in Uganda and highlights PEPFAR’s accomplishments. “U.S. support continues to grow. PEPFAR is not ending. Instead, building on the success of PEPFAR and other global health programs, President Barack Obama has put forward an ambitious Global Health Initiative, which will support coordinated programs aimed at reducing lives lost from HIV/AIDS and other health challenges. And through U.S. investments in the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, many more people will benefit from prevention, care and treatment,” according to Lanier. “We will continue to support those currently receiving treatment from PEPFAR,” he adds.

“But the U.S. government is obviously not – and should not be – the sole supporter of prevention, care, and treatment, either globally or in any particular country. Therefore, we are committed to continuing our intense engagement in support of the national multi-sectoral response led by the Uganda AIDS Commission, the Ministry of Health, and other ministries,” Lanier writes. “To meet the need, Uganda’s national government must resume the central role in leading the national response on health in general, and HIV/AIDS in particular. This will require increased investment in leadership and coordination at all levels of the national response. We will continue to work with the government, civil society, and the private sector, laying out a shared strategic vision and joint responsibilities. In this way, we can develop a roadmap towards joint strategic framework for cooperation, linked to the National HIV/AIDS Strategic Plan and the new National Health Sector Strategic and Investment Plan,” he adds (12/2).

Recommendations For Dealing With AIDS Over The Long-Term

In a Financial Times column, Peter Piot, director of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, Heidi Larson, a senior lecturer at the school, and Stefano Bertozzi, director of HIV and tuberculosis programs at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, highlight the recommendations from a forthcoming aids2031 report on how to address HIV/AIDS worldwide in the long term.

“First, adapt the strategy. Prevention must be re-emphasised to reduce new infections. … Second, increase efficiency. We need to be more effective with available resources – from optimising treatment to ensuring more efficient programme management. … Third, lengthen budget cycles. We cannot continue to address a long-term problem and life-long treatment with annual funding cycles. … Fourth, continue to innovate. It is critical to invest in science and technology. Yet, while we maintain focus on innovation, delivery needs equal attention … Last, renew leadership. We are concerned leadership on AIDS is waning. It has made a critical difference at multiple levels and is still needed,” Piot, Larson and Bertozzi write.

They conclude: “There is an urgent need to take a long-term view and make bold changes so millions more do not die needlessly” (11/30).

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