Human Rights Should Focus On HIV/AIDS Fight

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The U.S. should shift its policy on fighting HIV/AIDS to a "fight for basic human equality, providing a basis for more realistic outreach," a Daytona Beach News Journal editorial says. According to the editorial, HIV/AIDS is "reclaiming a foothold" around the world among younger populations "who don't want to admit they may be vulnerable" or think of the virus "as something treatable." It adds that nearly half of new HIV cases globally occur among people between ages 15 and 24.

The "problem is immeasurably more difficult" in countries where many women "lack the power to say no to sex" and few men openly admit relationships with other men, the editorial says, adding that U.S. "pressure on human rights issues, such as the criminalization of homosexuality, could help bring those at risk out of the shadows."

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Abstinence programs funded by the U.S. should be replaced by "fact-based, realistic prevention that emerging countries need," the editorial says, adding that "without political will and education, many will never know how to stop AIDS effectively." A "shift in U.S. policy would also acknowledge that the fight against HIV is also a fight for basic human equality, providing a basis for more realistic outreach," the editorial adds.

The "best defense against disease remains knowledge" and "fundamental human rights," the editorial says, concluding that any "prevention program that doesn't acknowledge that fact will have faltered before it begins" (Daytona Beach News Journal, 8/25).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, search the archives, and sign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . The Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. © 2007 Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.

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