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[519] Washington Post attacks AIDS 'indifference'

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The Washington Post has been publishing a series of articles which outlines the progression of support for HIV/AIDS in the last 20 years. A CIA intelligence officer kept watch on the "unravelling of societies and states. In 1990 they received permission to study the increasing rate of the pandemic AIDS. They produced a report entitled " The Global AIDS Disaster" which projected 45 million infections by the year 2000--inexorably fatal and the great majority in Africa. There were that many combatants killed in any of the World Wars, Korea or Vietnam (Washington Post- July 2000). But guess what- the report which was widely distributed within the administration of the day was greeted with "indifference."

The article then goes to chronicle further inaction on the part of the UN organization- The World Health Organization. People like the late Dr. Jonathan Mann and the present Executive Director of UNAIDS, Dr. Peter Piot tried in vain to convince them in Geneva that there was a real crisis. The Director General of the time informed them that he had a more serious disease to contend with and that was malaria as well as working towards his re-election as Director General. This has carried on throughout organizations such as The United Nations, Governments around the world, many different organizations until finally someone finally realized we have a catastrophe on our hands.

We aren't at the middle or the end of this pandemic, unfortunately we are only at the beginning and the worst is yet to come. The US government for example has realized that AIDS poses a threat to National Security and to the fragile infrastructures of the developing nations as their citizens die of this disease and put a strain on the health care system. We have the problem which is only becoming worse of the "AIDS Orphans" and what this is going to mean for caring for them and educating them and providing for them with the necessities of life. Now we have this huge conference convening in Durban and the scientists have issued their Durban Declaration, the panel formed by the President of South Africa has been in disarray discussing whether or not HIV does or does not cause AIDS, the President's office is pleading that the conference doesn't turn into a Mbeki bashing session and just before he is due to open the conference, a march is slated to take place with regards to ma!
 king drugs and treatments available to the developing nations. 

I think it is high time that everyone- All Governments, all NGOs, CBOs, United Nations Organizations, Red Cross, the private sector corporations united in a solid front and starting working in complete harmony to fight this disease in order that we can win the war and not just a little battle here and there. 

I find it interesting that there has been all the talk in the United States about former Congressman Dellums who proposed the "Marshall type Plan to fight AIDS" and has had many backers in Congress pushing the bill and yet according to POZ magazine, former Congressman Dellums is a consultant to the pharmaceutical giant Bristol Myers Squibb. I find this completely intolerable because everyone has bantered around about what this man has done, President Clinton chose him as Chairman of the National AIDS Advisory Committee for the US. Lets not the mistakes of the past as we work towards the future. We need to win this war but it is going to take everyone working together and in harmony to win the war. 

Lets also remember we are not just talking about Africa and the catastrophe there but this disease is marching it's way to Asia and to Eastern Europe where there is an even greater catastrophe possible. 

Lets make Durban a conference of new beginnings and start working towards eliminating this virus and disease. 

Respectfully submitted.

Gordon Youngman 
E-mail gyaid@gisco.net

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