Funding to India Helps, But Police Harassment Must Stop in Fight Against HIV/AIDS, New York Times Letter to Editor States
Despite the "laudable" effort by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to bring attention and funding to the AIDS epidemic in India, progress will be limited unless police harassment of "front-line AIDS educators" is stopped, Joanne Csete, director of the HIV/AIDS program at Human Rights Watch, writes in a letter to the editor of the New York Times. In India, people who act as educators to groups of "stigmatized people," including prostitutes and men who have sex with men, often face arbitrary arrest, extortion by police and harassment while in custody, Csete writes. Further, such abuse "only drives underground" those groups most in need of HIV prevention services, which receive the support of the government and outside donors. Csete concludes, "If this official abuse continues, the epidemic will be the big winner" (Csete, New York Times, 11/12). The New York Times today reports on the Gates' $100 million, 10-year donation to halt the spread of HIV/AIDS in India (Waldman, New York Times, 11/12).This is part of the Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.