Countries Must Join Together To Fight HIV/AIDS, Tobias, Piot, Benn Say in Opinion Piece
If left unchecked, HIV/AIDS is "an earthquake in slow motion ... that not only threatens the health of individuals and families but also the stability of economies and societies," U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Randall Tobias, UNAIDS Executive Director Peter Piot and Hilary Benn, Britain's secretary of staff for the Department for International Development, write in a San Diego Union-Tribune opinion piece. However, the world has "the skill and science needed to stop AIDS," the authors say, adding, "What we need now is the political will, the strategy and the unity to turn the tide." Benn, Piot and Tobias say that the international community "took an historic step in the right direction" with the adoption of a new "simple system for bringing together our different approaches to fighting AIDS" in developing countries (Benn et al., San Diego Union-Tribune, 5/7). Donor nations and developing countries last month at a meeting in Washington, D.C., agreed to three principles, known as the "Three Ones," to help streamline the international community's response to AIDS. The principles include establishing in each country: one HIV/AIDS action framework to coordinate the work of all involved parties; one national AIDS authority with a broad based multi-sector mandate; and one country-level system to monitor and evaluate programs (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 4/26). The new principles will allow nations to "move from a Band-Aid approach to providing proven HIV prevention and treatment services in communities worldwide," the authors say, adding, "If we are true to these principles, we can find common ground without getting bogged down in bureaucracy." Although the authors say that the agreement between donor nations and developing countries "provides a much-needed road map," they conclude that the "true test" will come in trying to apply the principles to each developing country, as well as "in our ability to translate this historic opportunity into medicine that gives new life, education that stops new HIV infections and support for the millions of children orphaned by AIDS" (San Diego Union-Tribune, 5/7).This is part of the Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.