Opportunities for Presidential Leadership on AIDS (A policy brief from CGD)

>> Center for Global Development : Publications: Opportunities for Presidential Leadership on AIDS: From an “Emergency Plan” to a Sustainable Policy

Here’s a summary of the 4-page brief, quoted from the link above:

This White House and the World Brief presents the key facts and recommendations drawn from chapters of The White House and the World: A Global Development Agenda for the Next U.S. President.

U.S. spending on global AIDS is widely seen as a significant foreign policy and humanitarian success, but this success contains the seeds of a future crisis. Treatment costs are set to escalate dramatically and new HIV infections continue to outpace the number of people receiving treatment. Three bad options thus loom ahead for U.S. foreign policy: indefinitely increase foreign assistance spending on an open-ended commitment, eliminate half of other foreign aid programs, or withdraw the medicine that millions of people depend upon to stay alive. CGD senior fellow Mead Over provides another option: implementing a sustainable policy that concentrates on prevention in order to drastically cut new infections while sustaining the reduction in AIDS-related deaths.

The publication highlights the following five prevention strategies:

  1. Target HIV-prevention efforts to hot spots
  2. Mobilize AIDS patients for HIV prevention
  3. Expand access to male circumcision
  4. Integrate family planning with AIDS treatment
  5. Reorient HIV testing toward couples

While I generally avoid making blanket statements about HIV/AIDS issues, especially complex and controversial ones, I think at least one thing is clear in the ongoing treatment vs. prevention debates.  Ultimately, prevention always wins.  It has to.  That’s not to say that treatment isn’t valid and important — indeed, essential — but in the end, HIV/AIDS can only be controlled and reduced if infections are prevented.  Treatment is important, it is humane, but it has to be seen in some sense as a stop-gap measure.  Prevention should be the ultimate, over-riding goal: preventing disease reduces the use of precious resources . . . more importantly, it reduces human suffering.  Treatment and prevention both have their place, but prevention should never be overlooked or brushed aside.  It’s results may not be as obvious, as visible as the effects of treatment, but they are the only complete solution.

The full text of this publication can be downloaded as a PDF here.

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~ by h.e.g. on September 9, 2008.

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