December 1, 2008
Some Claim the Global AIDS Crisis Has Passed
This World AIDS Day, some experts argued that AIDS is eating up funding at the expense of other pressing health needs, The Associated Press reports. Roger England of Health Systems Workshop charged that closing UNAIDS would free up its $200 million annual budget for other health problems such as pneumonia, which kills more children every year than AIDS, malaria and measles combined.
U.N. officials roughly estimate that about 33 million people worldwide have HIV. Scientists say infections peaked in the late 1990s and are unlikely to spark big epidemics beyond Africa.
Paul de Lay, a director at UNAIDS, disagreed. It’s valid to question the place of AIDS in the world’s priorities, de Lay said, but he added that the turnaround is recent and it would be wrong to think the epidemic is under control.
Experts working on other health problems struggle to attract the money and attention given to AIDS. Theses competing claims on public money are likely to grow louder as the world financial meltdown threatens to deplete health dollars.
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