Tuesday, August 22, 2006

AIDS Politics Costs Lives

Congratulations to the Ottawa Sun for recognizing that Stephen Harper made the right decision to skip the aids conference because it was too politicized. Here's part of what they had to say:
For a while there last week, especially if you were tuned to the “host broadcaster” CBC, it looked as though the main purpose of the 16th International AIDS Conference in Toronto was to attack the leader of the host country.

After all, not a day went by without someone publicly chastising PM Stephen Harper for not attending the event — even though Health Minister Tony Clement spent five days there. For good measure, Canada was repeatedly criticized for not spending enough on HIV/AIDS (even though Canadian taxpayers paid $6 million toward the conference), for not making good on its pledge to help send AIDS drugs to Africa and for not promising to keep Vancouver’s heroin-injection site open although Clement promised immediate reviews of both).

No wonder Harper decided that no policy or funding announcements would be made during the conference because he felt the issue had become too “politicized.”

The politicization of the issue is costing lives. I find it appalling that people who are supposedly working to win the fight against AIDS would boo Bill Gates for merely mentioning that programs supporting Abstinence and Faithfulness are effective in the fight against AIDS. In fact, they are the only two sure fire means of prevention. Restricting prostitution is another very effective preventative measure. Other artificial technologies such as condoms or microbicides are also potentially valuable tools in slowing the spread of AIDS, but they will never be perfect.

AIDS activists would do well to listen to the man who donated $500 million to their cause and use every tool available to prevent the disease. Otherwise, people might think that they are only trying to prolong the crisis to maintain a need for their industry.

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