As the world meets in Bangkok to discuss responses to the HIV/AIDS epidemic (wow, even Richard Gere thinks it's important!), these very effective public service ads (1, 2, 3 all .mpg files) from the Stephen Lewis Foundation bring the epidemic down (or up) to an emotional level.
African AIDS Drug Plan Faces Collapse. The World Health Organization's Three by Five programme seeks to supply 3 million Africans with anti-HIV drugs by 2005. But it's in danger, due to lack of cash... and opposition from special interests who seem to be exerting influence over the U.S. government. According to Stephen Lewis, U.N. Special Envoy for AIDS in Africa, 'If Three by Five fails, as it surely will without the dollars, then there are no excuses left, no rationalisations to hide behind. There will only be the mass graves of the betrayed.'
The value of disobedience. [note: nytimes] "Ignoring the reactionary policies of the Vatican, some local priests and nuns quietly do what they can to save parishioners from AIDS." So: when and why do people choose to quietly disobey, rather than leave and promote change from outside their social institutions...or vice versa? Should dissenters just leave, or stay and fight? Anecdotes from Republicans and NRA members are especially welcome ;-)
Bush appoints anti-gay member to AIDS panel. Jerry Thacker runs the Scepter Institute, a Christian Ministry. Their website states that "Both Jerry and his wife, Sue, [are] HIV-positive. How could it be? Jerry and Sue were committed Christians." The L.A. Times notes that Thacker has described homosexuality as a "deathstyle," and describes significant revisions that have been made to the Scepter Institute's website. I wonder if Thacker will be applying for some funds to renovate Scepter's offices, now that he is providing such a valuable social service?
The Access to Essential Medicines Campaign is an initiative by Medecins Sans Frontieres that seeks to "lower the prices of existing medicines in developing countries, to bring abandoned drugs back into production, to stimulate research and development for neglected diseases that primarily affect the poor, and to overcome other barriers to access." HIV is one target disease. The Campaign's press releases, press clips and reports on HIV give a good picture of recent developments. In light of this evidence, does anyone care to step up and defend "big pharma" and the governments of the wealthy North? Have we/they "done enough"? What would "doing enough" look like, given the scope of the crisis?