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Monday, December 1st 2008

World AIDS Day

A Print Anti-HIV Ad Campaign By The French Group AIDES

December 1st is World AIDS Day. You should go and make a pledge, not of money, but a promise for effort. Look for some small thing you can do to battle the spread of HIV.

President Bush, of course, spoke today of the plight of HIV/AIDS. And he took some credit for something the United States should be proud of in PEPFAR.

Five years ago, only 50,000 people with AIDS in sub-Sahara Africa were receiving antiretroviral drugs. Today, thanks to the emergency plan and to the generosity of the American taxpayer, that number is nearly 1.4 million. Think about that, over a five-year period of time the number of people in sub-Sahara Africa has increased from 50,000 to 1.4 million thanks to the American taxpayer. Around the world, another 6.7 million people with HIV/AIDS have received compassionate care, including 2.7 million orphans and vulnerable children. Tens of millions have received prevention — prevention messages based on the proven principles of ABC, which is Abstinence, Be faithful, and use Condoms.

Here is hoping that the United States has the will to continue its commitment to those living with HIV in Africa even as resistance sets in, even as the very effort the U.S. is making in getting AVRs to sub-Saharan Africa increases life expectancy and the costs that go with it.

PEPFAR is something, one of the few things, Bush should take proudly as his legacy. It was an impressive commitment of American resources.

HIV is the great infectious disease of my lifetime and I am certain that the possibility of me seeing it eliminated in my lifetime is very real.