On the eve of the UN Special Session on HIV/AIDS, UNAIDS Chief Peter Piot claimed that the world community has gained momentum in the fight against AIDS, but told Reuters that “it was also crucial to address issues such as homophobia, sexual violence and inequality between the sexes which are ensuring HIV/AIDS is a long-term epidemic.”
Unfortunately, those very issues are exactly why conservative ideologues continue to promote strategies of delay, when what the world needs is to lock arms and work together.
As we reported in Rumor Mill the US is now in league with Syria in an “Axis of Ideology”, and the ideologues who believe they own the President are exporting their polarizing politics from Congress to the international stage.
As politicians carry on with this course of action, the American public want the US government to do more. According to Kaiser Family Foundation, 63% of Americans don’t feel the feds are spending enough to fight the disease here at home. As Kaiser states, “…it appears that the American public does not suffer from AIDS fatigue – they want more done and believe it will pay off.” The American people just want to save lives.
And yet another major report on the disease confirms progress and promise, as well as the poison of ideology that is tied largely to domestic policies in the US and Vatican intransigence on contraception and women’s rights.
The report, HIV/AIDS Policy in the United States from the Open Society Institute, highlights issues with which anyone paying attention to the disease for the past 25 years will be all too familiar. The report stresses problems in the US with regard to funding, comprehensive prevention strategies, treatment and support – and notes that current policies disproportionately impact communities of color, people in poverty, injecting drug users and men who have sex with men. In other words, for ideological conservatives – who are about 20 years late to this fight but certainly welcome – talking points and limits on prevention strategies don’t defeat AIDS. Compassionate public health strategies do.
The question is this: Have conservatives joined the global fight against AIDS to solve the problem, or simply to moralize? If it is to find common sense solutions, there is more than enough data on proven public health strategies accumulated by dedicated professionals who have led this fight for 25 years, and they find ways to work on these rather than tearing them down in pursuit of their own agendas.
Isn’t it the moral act in this case to employ every proven strategy, so you can look a dying mother in the eye and tell her everything possible is being done to ensure her children do not suffer as she has?
Conservative ideologues opposed to comprehensive prevention policies refuse to compromise – thus slowing progress on prevention, education, and research fronts, while people literally die waiting.