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Choices. 2001 Dec; 1.As UNDP's Goodwill Ambassador to combat poverty, I am deeply aware of the link between poverty and AIDS. Poor people suffer more from disease, and HIV/ AIDS creates more poverty. Being poor is hard enough, but poverty added to a deadly disease is nothing short of a disaster for families and whole communities. Since HIV/ AIDS is found especially among the youngest and most active, the more it spreads, the more people in the prime of life must stop working and support those who depend on them. The results are devastating for low-income families. HIV/AIDS is becoming a major development problem affecting all sectors of society and, even worse, it is wiping out the progress made thus far. While it has been possible to contain the spread of HIV/AIDS in rich countries through prevention campaigns and investment in research and treatment, things have been very different in many poor countries. In the poorest countries, many have no access to information that could prevent infection, and those who are infected do not have the drugs that could give them a few more precious years to live. (excerpt)
Africa Recovery. 2004 Apr; 18(1): p..Almost a decade ago, the development of an effective treatment for the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) that causes AIDS opened an ugly new gap in the global divide between rich and poor. People in wealthy countries could get the expensive new drugs, known as anti-retrovirals (ARVs), and live. For people in poor countries, there would be no drugs, only the certainty of a slow and agonizing death. And die they did, in the millions. Declaring the inability of the poor to obtain HIV/ AIDS medications "a global health emergency," the director-general of the UN's World Health Organization (WHO), Dr. Lee Jong-wook, launched a global drive to provide life-extending ARVs to 3 million people, including 2 million in Africa, by the end of 2005. It is known as the "3x5" campaign. About 6 million people worldwide currently require ARVs, which are prescribed only to those in the last stages of the disease. It is also a long-term commitment, since the drugs do not cure the disease and must continue for life. "To deliver anti-retroviral treatment to the millions who need it we must change the way we think and change the way we act," noted Dr. Lee. "Business as usual will not work. Business as usual means watching thousands of people die every single day." (excerpt)
Testimony to the hearing of the Committee on Foreign Relations of the United States Senate on Halting the Global Spread of HIV / AIDS: the Future of U.S. Bilateral and Multilateral Responses, 13 Feb 2002.
Geneva, Switzerland, Joint United Nations Programme on HIV / AIDS [UNAIDS], 2002. 17 p.Mr. Chairman, I am here today to tell you that the AIDS epidemic is different from any other epidemic the world has faced, and as such, requires a response from the global community that is broader and deeper than has ever before been mobilized against a disease. Twenty years since the world first became aware of AIDS three things have become clear: that humanity is facing the most devastating epidemic in human history, the impact of which threatens development and prosperity in major regions of the world; that for all the devastation it has already caused, the AIDS epidemic is still in its early stages; and that we are in a position to bring the epidemic under control. The first twenty years in the history of an epidemic is only the blink of an eye. The other communicable diseases that ravage many parts of the world have been known for many centuries. Their patterns of spread have become well-established and predictable. (excerpt)
Global AIDSLink. 2003 Aug-Sep; (81):10-11.Rampant, unchecked HIV/AIDS, a famine that threatens 7 million of the country's 12 million people with starvation, a tradition of male dominance, a dictatorial president whose land "reforms" have decimated the formerly bountiful farms, and an 80 percent unemployment rate have pushed the once prosperous nation of Zimbabwe to the brink of collapse. As a social activist deeply concerned about AIDS, I've traveled to Zimbabwe three times in the past two years and witnessed the ever-deepening humanitarian crisis there. Since the beginning of the AIDS plague in sub-Saharan Africa more than 20 years ago, our nation has consistently failed to adequately respond. The term "criminal negligence" is not too harsh to describe the way we have averted our eyes from the exploding AIDS pandemic that now imperils the entire region. Finally, President Bush has taken the extraordinary step of promoting a landmark global HIV/AIDS bill (HR 1298) to provide US $15 billion ($3 billion annually for five years) to fight AIDS in parts of southern Africa and the Caribbean; Zimbabwe, however, is not included. Despite the fact that Zimbabwe is the second hardest hit nation in the world, it appears the Zimbabwean people are to be punished for President Mugabe's reign of terror. While it may be understandable that our government chooses not to offer assistance to a country controlled by a dictatorial leader, it is terribly troubling that those among us who generally champion the rights of the oppressed and disenfranchised have also looked away. (excerpt)