At the AIDS summit being held at the UN today, African leaders have called for greater resources to battle what has long been a true pandemic on that continent.
The continent of Africa has literally been ravaged by the disease. Its nations desperately need help obtaining the drugs that keep the disease at bay for those who have been infected with HIV. Furthermore, they need to expand educational programs, which must be done with great sensitivity to the cultures of the people whom the programs are targeting.
I went to college with a young woman from South Africa who lost both of her parents to AIDS. Sadly, half of her friends lost parents, too, before drug treatment began to stem fatalities. But AIDS orphans are still shockingly common throughout Africa. The tragedy is epic.
To date, the AIDS epidemic has killed over 25 million people worldwide, a staggering figure. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has set the goal of eliminating AIDS altogether by 2020. And by the way, we shouldn’t think that it’s just a problem in Africa — young people of all walks of society here are still getting infected at frightening rates. It is in everyone’s interests for wealthier nations to help poorer nations — and themselves — fulfill Secretary General Ban’s goal and eradicate this scourge as quickly as possible.