I was perusing the Washington Post one Tuesday afternoon-I came upon an article entitled "Best Kept Secret For HIV Free Africa". The article discusses how U.S funding for birth control has been decreased in Africa, and how antiretrovial drugs are the main treatment and initiative for HIV infected Africa. The article continues to emphasize that science and research proves that birth control is more effective, but unfortunately, the U.S Government has decided that antiretrovial drugs will continue to be the focal point in the struggle to help developing nations in Africa. For those who dont know, Antiretrovial drugs are medications for the treatment of HIV. I would like to emphasize the word treatment. Antiretrovial drugs help to slow the HIV virus from entering different cells in the human body. Basically, the person continues to have the virus, it just takes the virus longer to spread through the body. Some may consider it to prolongate sickness and death-But that is just opinions, not facts.
Prevention vs Treatment
The biggest problem with medicine in the 21st century is the focus of treating symptoms; never its causes. Oh, you have a severe cold? Never mind how you obtained it, just take this Nyquil and sleep until you forget all about the coughing, sneezing, and sore throat. Oh, you lost your sex drive, take this Viagra pill and it will give you an erection, don't take into consideration what created your inability to have sex. Unfortunately, our "prevention over treatment" mentality is what we are using in order to prevent HIV/AIDS in Sub-Sahara Africa. We are spending a lot of time and money on the implementation of antiretrovial drugs; instead, we should be advocating more convenient methods of birth control to the developing nations of Africa. More emphasis on prevention is what the U.S Government should be demonstrating. There are 2 million HIV infected children in Africa, of these 2 million, 90% contracted the disease from their mother during birth. So, Why isnt the U.S Government promoting more birth control in Africa?
Politics As Usual
To answer the above question look no further than to the Bush Admistration. In 2003, Bush created the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). The money funded by PEPFAR is predominantly spent on antiretrovial drug treatment. PEPFAR does condone the distribution of condoms; but they do not support any other forms of birth control. PEPFAR refuses to help fund any organizations that promote any forms of birth control (except condoms).I would like to mention that a majority of PEPFAR's board members are neo-conservative Republicans.There really isn't much condom usage in developing African nations; This concludes that birth control in developing African nations is virtually obsolete. A "revolving door" of HIV and AIDS is spinning in Africa. Without condoms and other forms of birth control-citizens are transmitting HIV to one another through unprotected sex-as well as, giving birth to HIV infected babies.
I remember the first time I went through a revolving door,I was six years old. The door was intriguing to me because it just kept spinning, and I kept following it in a circle. Even though I was dizzy from all the spinning, I kept following the door because I didnt know any better, it was entertainment. After five minutes of amusement, my mother finally grabbed me and told me to stop! When will the U.S and other nations grab Africa from their revolving door? Will we continue to let politics ruin our morale. Now that Bush is about to leave office, the next President should improve on the mishaps of PEPFAR; he or she should also realize that there is a revolving door spinning in the United States as well.
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